Gwen is wanting me to quit using this picture of us. When I asked her why she said, “It’s 8 years old and we are more beat up now then when the picture was taken.” We laughed…. but inside we knew the truth of her joke. Perhaps, like many of our pictures–they are memories of a more innocent time–a time before big things happened that altered our life forever.
You know what I mean. The death of a parent. Losing your job. Erosion in your 401K. Life was more simple back then. The smiles were perhaps—well–deeper.
Life has a way of beating us up sometimes. When we closed our CaringBridge Blog, I could not help but notice that all but one of my friends who ever did a Caring Bridge blog had all died. I guess you can say that they were beat up by their cancer, their tumors, their illnesses and their disease–created dis-ease in their lives and every thing changed. The Cancer eventually did them in. This might sound crass but let me ask you a question:
Are you living the life you want to live before you die?
It’s a simple question and don’t read on before you pause with my quesition for a moment. One of my favorite authors and literary mentors is David Whyte. He wrote words I’ll never forget and I quote them often. He said, “Sometimes we have to unmake a living before we can live the life we really want to live.”
Gwen’s back surgery now seven weeks ago has unmade us. We’ve been forced to think and rethink much of our lives. Recovery is going slower than we both anticipated. She’s still not able to lift more than a gallon of milk and is now beginning her pool therapy which will help her recover the numbness in her leg. She’s making good progress you’ll be glad to know. This is a picture of her and me along with our friend, Dr. Curt Thompson (author of The Anatomy of the Soul, which we highly and strongly recommend).
She looks great doesn’t she? But behind every picture there is an inner story. Both of us were profoundly impacted by Curt Thompson’s book and the weekend retreat he led for us at our Inn in Colorado. We were so impacted that we’re beginnging now to make even more adjustments in our thinking about—well, about nearly everything. Curt’s a follower of Jesus who is also a psychiatrist. We spent hours together talking and sharing some of our lives with Curt. It was so helpful to get great insight and feedback–resulting in us vowing to ourselves, “We really do want to live the life we WANT to live—not just HAVE to live.” There’s a difference you know and perhaps Jesus came to offer us this difference—this Jesus Life, not an ordinary life.
So, in these fall days, we’re beginning to re-think much of our lives, whether or not we WANT to remain in our home or sell it and move to the retreat. How we want to be more involved in the lives of those we love and less involved with people and things that take the life out of us. As we begin to blog together, you’ll be able to hear from both us— watch our struggles to come to grips with some deep regrets that we both have our seeking the courage to set out to live and experience the life we really do want to live.
We were reminded….The Kingdom of God is actually here and now…not just ours through death. How’s your kingdom life going?
Steve and Gwen Smith
Colorado Springs, CO