Friday, January 1, 2010

Two Guests Uninvited

I awoke in the semi-darkness to a sense that something was standing over me. It wasn't an unfamiliar visitor. It was the ever-present to-do list being held to my head like a gun, before I ever opened my eyes to the day. This scene plays out too often. If only I could find a way to lock the door to this early morning intruder who ruins my first thoughts each day with it's threats and it's brawn and it's never-ending presence. Unlike the scene in a suspenseful movie where the main character can outsmart the bad guy, there is no way to escape the power of "the list".

I know from experience; the list will "go off", and a day that should be a day of freedom will be shot. So I pounced out of bed and made my move to gain an upper hand over it. I prefer to grab it quickly, wrestle it for control and rule it rather than have it hold me hostage. I have experience with being its captive, as indicated by its way of awakening me under duress. I may have to follow it's orders to an extent, but I don't like to give in easily or obey completely.

So with the list on my mind, I made my coffee, plopped down on the couch with the Christmas lights twinkling their final twinkle of the season and I pulled out my journal. I find it helpful to get writing when the list spells out it's demands. I can counter it better if I jot down my own list of sorts...a list of thoughts and plans of the things I don't have to do but which I have dreams of getting a chance to fulfill.

As I began to write, out of the corner of my eye, I sensed a soft morning glow sneaking its way across the dining room, trailing through the kitchen window, quietly inching it's way into my day to surprise and wow me with it's beauty. The first "ahhh.." moment of the new year was upon me, and the second uninvited guest of the morning. This one more than welcome.

Ah, yes, a welcome intruder - the light. It's like the list's alter ego. It quietly glides through the slats in the little white kitchen shutters to shine a beam of hope at an angle across the dining room and onto the new picture there, it lights up the blue and green glass sitting on the table along it's happy-go-lucky way, with little bursts of joy in tow. I jumped up hurriedly. I had accidentally shut out this morning visitor from it's usual stage in the back room. In the winter, that is where it makes it's grand entrance each early morning when I pull the curtain aside so it can step in and start the show. But the curtains were still drawn and it was having to slip in via the kitchen window like a little thief.

The light was a bit shy today, starting out with a meek tiptoe, peeking out from behind a dishwater-dull sky overpopulated with clouds, but it wasn't deterred from doing what it could. Dark clouds have no power over even the tiniest ray of light.

Even a little sunshine overcomes every time and makes a statement and has an impact. Big is not important to a ray of light.... a small beam lends an optimistic sparkle to an otherwise dreary and oppressive morning overpopulated with heavy, threatening clouds. Grand and glorious isn't necessary, just a little bright spot does the trick. I feel hopeful despite the layers of puffy, ugly gray out there, spread out across a vast sky, hiding a beautiful blue. I can trust the color is still there despite the cover of drear and blah, all because of one little ray working its wonder. And it's countering the somber thoughts heaped upon me by the list.

To my surprise, despite the dense clouds domineering the world only moments ago, a much brighter glow is starting to overpower the gloom now, a full-fledged sunny show is dancing across the room and kicking up hope for the day. The clouds have taken off running. They knew they were beat.

Both the welcome sparkle of morning and the dreaded list with it's chains of demand come in, invited or not. Each holds a certain sway over us. The light often starts out sweetly, nudging us with a warm embrace and a twinkling wake up call, the list and the fear, come like a gun to the head. So even though you may have a to-do list or an understandable fear that threatens to hold you like a hostage for another five months, there is also a ray of light just beyond the window making its way past dark clouds and dreary skies to get to you. It's gonna rain down it's sparkle of joy if you allow it a way in. It may start out small, but it has the power to scare away the ugliest of oppressive thoughts and can give you an upper hand to see what you have to face in the honest light of day. Keep an eye out for it, give it a stage. Don't make it sneak around trying to find a way in, fling open the curtains and give it a chance to light up the new year.

And while you're at it, take your list in hand and add something important to it. Make room at the top to note the Valentine's Day/Easter package we are about to get underway to send our Marines. The plan is unfolding to deliver a little love and light to them in the days ahead. The bright ray of light that greets us with hope for the new year is also on it's way to our Marines. And we can make it brighter.

More news on how you can help send a little sunshine and love will be posted in the days to come. Now, you better go find your sunglasses, because I think it's gonna be a bright new year!


  1. Liz, You paint such a good word picture that I could imagine myself in your story. Are you a professional writer or is it simply one of God's gifts?

  2. Thanks, Sally. I just love words. Wish I had more time so I could say something a bit more meaningful. Distractions, distractions... also known

  3. Liz - I don't know how much more meaningful you could possibly get! I never cease to be amazed at your gift for words! And it's not just the words - it's the unique thoughts behind them as well that make you so gifted.