Clues to a Perfect Life (Part 3)
Both of our neighbors left this weekend to head to the beach. I’m a bit envious. Although a May beach vacation is ideal in so many ways, the hard part is that it’s over when everyone else’s is just beginning. But I’m happy for them, even if I wish I could’ve tagged along.
As I shared over the past two weeks, there are clues that I’ve gathered during our recent family vacation to the Outer Banks that are helping me live a more perfect, complete life here in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Perfect days can give clues to a perfect life as Anne Morrow Lindberg writes.
We all have those days when we wish they would last just a little bit longer. Maybe it’s a rainy Saturday where you are curled up inside with a book, or it may be a vacation at the beach where the sky seems the clearest blue you’ve ever seen. On days like this, life feels complete.
Those feelings and experiences live in our lives as clues and we would be wise to gather those clues and carry them in our pocket.
Today, I’m sharing three more clues I discovered while reflecting on our perfect time at Duck. I’m hoping these clues will help you to create a life of perfect days ... magical, joyful, and beautiful.
Clue #7: Live Simply
We do not need stuff.
We know this, intrinsically, and yet, it is so easy to accumulate things. But the more we have, the more we have to maintain. And if we are not careful, our things can possess us rather than we possess our things.
When we moved to Oxford, Tim and I sold nearly everything we had, including our house and cars. At first, it was a bit unnerving. But we began to love the gift of traveling light.
Our pixies arrived in England with only a few Legos and dolls. I remember sitting in our flat on Kensington Street, looking at them playing at the table with the few Lego pieces they had, and thinking to myself, How am I going to entertain them here for hours while Tim is out buying cell phones?
Two hours later, after he came home, the girls were still sitting at the table playing with the same Lego set. Remind me again why we choose to litter our floors with massive amounts of Lego pieces when one set will do?
Less does equal more.
Island living taught Lindbergh to embrace simplicity,
“Simplicity of living, as much as possible, to retain a true awareness of life.”
We are aware of more when we have less. We see, really see what is before us.
While we were at the beach, the girls played for hours in the sand. They saw the possibilities of creating worlds with a few shovels and buckets. There were no distracting gadgets to capture their attention. Rather, there was a breathtaking ocean expanse, and a beach full of shells and sand.
Simplicity fosters awareness. May we realize that less is often the better choice.
Clue #8: Choose Closeness to Nature
Being outside in God’s creation changes you. The ocean is awe-inspiring. The mountains are full of grandeur. Waterfalls bring refreshment. There is no end to the wonder that nature fosters within.
It’s so easy to use the weekends to pop in a coffee shop, visit a bookstore, browse a boutique. But ocean living reminded me of how refreshing it is to be outside and how much fun our family has when we are outdoors.
I love what Kate Merrick says in Here Now,
“And if nature is the doorway of God’s wild beauty, then adventure is crossing the threshold with intention… it must be entered into. This call of adventure is an invitation to experience sights, sounds, scents, and textures that draw us out of ourselves into what’s happening beyond the sterile and controlled environments we have built around us.”
It must be entered into. The invitation is there, waiting for us. But so often we choose the safe, the controlled environment we are familiar with.
I had a lot of questions heading into this beach trip. The Outer Banks is more remote than a lot of other beaches. I have one pixie who is allergic to fire ants. How close is the local urgent care? Will she be able to walk on the beach without shoes, or will the fire ants be too prevalent?
The Outer Banks also has a strong rip current. Our guide at the Lost Colony informed us they lose twelve people a year to it. (Side note: never begin your welcoming address with that somber note.)
But fear could have cost us the adventure of crossing the threshold. We can’t go to the Outer Banks. There are just too many unknowns. Let’s stay in our nice controlled environments.
But God is the one who is ultimately in control. He has numbered each of our days and no matter how hard we try we cannot control that.
God meets us in His glorious, uncontrollable nature.
The waves did not sweep my girls away but they did sweep away the worries of my soul. Zion ran through a park full of fire ants and not one bit her. Our God is not a tame lion, but He is full of adventure, and perfect days find us riding on the winds of His glorious nature.
Living happens in the outdoors. Trust Him and step out into the unknown and the great outdoors
Clue #9: Let Some Days Just Be
The beauty of the outdoors is in its lack of a controlled environment. When I became a mom, my vocabulary quickly shifted: “Be careful! Watch out! I’ll think about it!” Adventure, spontaneity, and risk are easy to squelch.
But some days just beg to be enjoyed.
That trip to the White Water Center that wasn’t planned? It gathered more laughter on the bike trails than my heart can hold. The late night hide and go seek of the neighborhood kids running through the yard well past their preferred bedtime? It reminds me of my own childhood days.
These are the days. And some of the best days are the ones we just let be.
These are days you'll remember
Never before and never since
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it
You'll know it's true
That you are blessed and lucky
It's true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow in you, in you
May we hold these three clues close to our chest and remind ourselves that the outdoors beckon us to come explore, life is better when it’s simple, and some days just need to be …