By Amanda Cleary Eastep
There were sticky notes everywhere.
Just to make absolutely sure that the high school and college graduation party for my kids went off without a hitch, my mother had strategically placed important messages throughout the house.
“pans for grilled food only” (read: don’t use these pans for E-coli-ridden raw meat holders or musical instruments)
“hot” salsa and “mild” salsa
and our favorite note, placed on the pitcher beside the coffee pot, “water for coffee,” which, hours later, mysteriously ended up on the toilet lid.
Although certain messages may seem obvious and their transference to a small piece of hot pink paper superfluous, often in life we still don’t get the message.
Take last Sunday. I was being a poop.
At some point in the day, I thought or said the following…
I hate Sundays.
I’m not sure I want to write anymore.
What does God want me to do with my life?
Why is it raining?
(Followed by) It’s too cold to walk in the rain.
(Followed by) Why are you making me walk in the rain?
I was walking (in the rain) with my daughter, who loves to dance (in the rain) and tried to spin me around joyfully. I grudgingly acquiesced, like the dead guy with rigor mortis in the 80s movie Weekend at Bernie’s.
She said, You’re being a poop.
She prayed I would get punched in the face with joy.
The next day, Monday, February 1, the Universe (better known in my circles as God) answered with a barrage of fluorescent sticky notes smacked to my forehead.
Messages from the Universe that May Seem Obvious But that You May Have Missed
How you begin the day matters
Before I got out of bed Monday morning, I read the first day of a new devotional in which Oswald Chambers talks about the Apostle Paul’s determination to do his utmost for his highest.
“That’s it. I’m writing for God ONLY,” I announced to my daughter at breakfast.
I know about working for God’s glory, but I have a lot of personal reasons for why I blog, like the ever-elusive fame and fortune. Like building email list subscribers (for when I have an email list). And for growing a “tribe” who will snatch up my e-book (when I finally write one).
But I’ve kind of skipped over the “absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will” part Chambers mentions. At this very moment, at least, I’m writing because God wants me to, and he reads every word and takes joy in them (except for my occasional use of “shit”). True surrender means that even if no one ever reads another thing I write, my satisfaction will be complete and my success will be achieved with an audience of One.
Be open to insight from unlikely sources
I recently bought a Groupon for Dahn yoga classes. My elder daughter and I attended our second class yesterday and had a brief orientation, during which we learned some cool Korean words. Then out of the blue (although the transitional phrasing may have been lost in translation), Master Chung looks me in the eye and says in Kor-english:
“We ask ‘What am I supposed to do?’”
[knock me off my warrior stance with a rice noodle]
“We don’t achieve goals because we stop then start then stop,” she said, extending her hand, palm down, and imitating the movement of waves. “But you must keep going until you reach the goal.”
Honor the work of those you admire by carrying out your own work
Yesterday, Tammy Perlmutter, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote about her journey to becoming a writer and how she started The Mudroom Blog, which celebrated its first anniversary–also yesterday. Obviously, these words resonated:
“God merged the two and gave me a new commission: Write for me.”
I know this post spoke to many readers for many reasons. Not only was it an encouragement for me to continue writing/blogging, but I realized that by carrying out the work we are called to do, we honor the fellow writers, artists, musicians, mothers and fathers, pastors and masters whose work we admire (and also sometimes dementedly covet).
How you end the day matters (…OR share your sticky notes)
The final message of the day came in a shared Disney photo album from my son who is vacationing with his new wife. Most of the pictures are of fancy tropical drinks and dumb Keenan faces, but this was among them.
That’s why I’m sharing my February 1 sticky notes with you.
All those messages from God and the universe and your mom that offer enlightenment and comfort and a good laugh are meant to be passed along, stuck on other people’s refrigerators and foreheads. And even if Monday didn’t “punch me in the face with joy,” at least it sent me the clear message to do my “utmost.”