Our harvest this year has been so small compared to other years. Instead of a bounty of tomatoes we’re only getting one or two here and there for sandwiches. We usually have so many squash at the beginning of each season that I want to unload them in unlocked cars. No squash at all this year. Not one from our garden. Cucumbers were weird. Zero watermelons. Zero beets, chard, or kale this year. Zero eggplant so far. And, instead of jars and jars of dried beans I’ve only gotten a few handfuls.
It would be easy to look at the little handful of beans and think it a waste. I mean, who could make a meal out of that?! Certainly not a family of four. But that little handful is a blessing still. A bounty untapped. A single bean in that handful holds the genetic information necessary to produce a plant. That one plant has the potential to produce hundreds of beans if cared for properly. From one bean comes hundreds.
I could look at this handful of goodness and think of the ridiculous amount of time it would take to soak and simmer to provide a single serving for one person. Or I could look at this handful of bean seed and see the potential to feed myself and my entire family next season. Maybe even produce a bounty that could be sold or given away. And, while it would be easy to assume that the story ends there for this little handful of seeds, they still need nurturing to make it to next season. They have to be kept dry and cool and protected from rodents who would see them as a winter storage snack. If not treated properly over the winter they could rot, mold, or be gobbled up. The tender information inside of each one could be lost.
Isn’t life like that sometimes? Instead of overflowing larders of happiness, goodness, grace, we get small little handfuls here and there. It would be easy to overlook these moments and miss their potential impact on the rest of our lives. And sometimes we recognize the small-but-wonderful moments when we’re in them but forget them in a drawer somewhere or let them rot or be gobbled up in our winter season of life.
As a stay-at-home mom of a one-income household, I easily brush off opportunities like the glampout as indulgent….excess. It’s hard to justify things like glamorous camping with 14 other women halfway across the country as necessary when you spend most days trying to balance schedules and strict grocery budgets and how you’ll pay for extracurriculars. I told myself many times that it would be fun, but not necessary. Obviously I threw caution to the wind and took some much needed “me time”. And it turns out it WAS necessary. And the rewards were amazing.
You see, the glampout could’ve just been one of those beans in a seemingly insignificant handful of beans. On the surface, it was 4 days in a lifetime of days. Maybe call it fun. Maybe call it an adventure. But upon closer inspection, it gave me moments that could change my whole life if cared for properly. Those moments could have a lifetime of impact. But, only if I don’t forget them as soon as I get home.
So, for the sake of not letting my moments go to waste, here are a few of those “beans” gleaned from the glampout, documented as a reminder to myself:
I need time for reflection, refreshment and the company of like-minded counsel. 4 days gave me a fresh outlook on life. 4 days for a lifetime of impact. That’s a huge return on investment and something I should invest in more often. I am a better mom, wife, and friend when I take time to decompress. Make an effort to find ways to “get away” every now and then. Even if it’s just a quiet bath.
Be careful not to live in that weekend. It was a soul-filling experience but the goal is not to perpetually camp in the glampout experience. The goal is forward momentum, application of the weekend, not dwelling on a past experience and trying to artificially orchestrate it in everyday, regular life. Move forward with purpose and intention in the regular moments of life equipped with the knowledge gleaned from the weekend.
People will disappoint you. No question about that. But people can confound you in the most amazing ways, too. It’s a crap shoot. Only the latter one requires courage. Closing the door to experiences because of “people” is like throwing your handful of beans to the birds. You might only have a handful of people who don’t disappoint right now but they can impact your life profoundly if you let them. Don’t throw them to the birds and shut them out because of past hurts. Plant them and water them and reap your reward from them.
It’s easy to get caught up in our own experience and see it as unique and isolating. The amazing thing is, while our individual life moments might be uniquely ours, the struggle is not. Most of us have something we’re insecure about, something we’re uncertain of. If I can recognize this perhaps I can give others and myself a little more grace.
Grace. Oh, grace. The women of the glampout were models of grace. There were so many safe havens I found in these ladies. Either in their words or on their faces. Which is another reminder. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything to impact another. Love and acceptance can show in your countenance as well.
Stop operating under the assumption that God is a perpetually angry God. Not reaching your goal or dream does not necessarily mean that God is withholding something from you because he’s mad or disappointed or because you are doing it wrong. If that were so it would mean that you can get what you want from God based on your actions — your good actions. Stop trying to figure out the formula. Pray this instead: If my dreams are what God wants for me then show me creative ways to reach them. If not, then give my heart a new desire, a new dream.
Write it down! Stop assuming you’ll remember how you felt right at that moment. You won’t. You will remember the moment but not how you felt. In order to see the blessings and practice greater thankfulness, write it down. Everyday. The little things. The big things. Anything. Be diligent in gathering your “bean” moments so that you don’t let them go to waste.
Learn to see yourself as God sees you. Beloved.