Monday, June 11, 2012


June is in full swing, and I can already tell: Saying no is going to be good for me.

This weekend, I played card games with my cousins and picked blueberries with my friends. I baked cobbler and made homemade lemonade and prepared a week's worth of breakfasts. I cleaned the refrigerator and finished almost all of the laundry. I took naps and finally finished a book. We watched Friday Night Lights and went grocery shopping and ate a whole lot of pizza.

Of course, I could also tell you that when we picked my car up from the shop on Saturday, we had to turn right around and take it back. (Turns out they didn't fix that pesky air conditioning after all.) I could tell you that it rained while we picked blueberries or that I dropped my iPhone and shattered its screen, leaving me in a fit of tears and frustration. I could tell you that we still haven't found a house to rent and that the entire process has been like something out of a bad dream.

I could tell you all of these things, could go on about each of them in glorious detail, but I'd rather remember this weekend as the one with fresh blueberries and clean kitchens. I'd like to remember that saying no and carefully choosing yes has already reaped its rewards. I'd like to remember that as summer starts -- already rainy and muggy and excruciatingly hot -- I am happy and content, even amid the annoyances. I'd like to train my memory to recall the happy things first, the frustrations as mearly an afterthought.

Because even when my life is messy, the truth is, I love it.

I was thinking about my grandmother this weekend. I'm not sure why, really, except it's been a few months, and she creeps back up in my memory every so often. And this weekend, I thought of how she left this world, and of how -- at first, anyway -- she seemed so sad to go.

A lot of Christians, I think, will tell you death should come easy. If you believe, the transition from one life to the next should be relatively painless, simple. Our hope of a grand future should far outweigh our sadness in leaving the present.

I'm not really sure that's how death works, and I take comfort in the fact that my grandmother didn't jump at the opportunity, but instead was slow to leave this life behind.

I'd wager that's because she liked it here. The rain and the sunshine, our families and friends, the change in seasons and the tangy taste of blueberries on the tongue? That's stuff I'll miss too. And I rather like that my grandmother -- as devout and as righteous as she was -- knew she'd miss it all when she took her leave from this life and entered the next.

This weekend is the kind of weekend I'll miss when it's all said and done. Even with the dropped iPhones and the dumpy houses and the broken cars... It's all still pretty good.

And most of the time, if I'm being honest and my imagination hasn't run away with me, the good far outweighs the bad.


Kristin said...

So happy to read this Annie! The experiment is agreeing with you. Keep up the good (hard) work of saying no!

Sabrina said...

Your weekend sounds just about right! A lot of sweet to help take the tang out of the sour experiences that crop up all of the time. My daddy says, "If it's not one thing it's another." I have learned that to be very true.

Linda said...

Such a lovely post. I love what you say about your grandmother. There is heartache and suffering in this life but you're right, there is SO much to want to stay around for too.

Jenny said...

This is so true. Sometimes I feel guilty for fearing death, like I should feel exactly how you said Christians should, but I agree--it's sad to know there will be so much to miss. I think the bad aspects of life are there to help the good seem that much better, and it is truly the small things (like eating blueberries) that make life so beautiful! Glad you had such a wonderful weekend!

Leslie said...

Loved reading this, friend. One of my favorite things about your writing is that it's so clear that you're really living a vibrant life - not just writing about it. And, I agree about remembering the good instead of the bad!
Let's always take mind-pictures of the sweet stuff. May our faces' muscle-memories always be more inclined to silly grins than dissatisfied frowns.