Learning to Lose

Another thorn keeps poking my brain as I embark on this writing project. I believe wholeheartedly in the good practice of finding beauty in everything around me. The littlest things end up bringing me so much joy! One of my favorite places to go is this cozy coffee shop in Plano, TX called 1418 Coffeehouse. Their sugar free vanilla latte tastes like a warm, liquid marshmallow. It’s. Amazing.

But if my sense of meaning feeds only on delicious lattes – or even if it arises from capturing all the wonders that arise in the light of the golden hour – I’ve missed the point. My joy wrestles with a current of guilt that keeps surging in to make its presence known: How can I spend $5 on myself – rather frequently – just to enjoy that smooth, sweet sensation while hungry children walk this planet?

I think this guilt-current is a healthy one, born from the shift in my value system that started over the last year and a half. I’ve gone from a 5-bedroom house with my dream floor-plan to a one-bedroom apartment with a greenbelt view and an abundance of happy cardinals. I used to buy $100 jeans; at the moment, everything I’m wearing is second-hand, except for some sandals from Target. The possessions of my former life weren’t evil… just more than I really needed. I was spending too much money and time on what didn’t really matter. As Ann Voskamp writes, “Your days never fail to betray your priorities.” Then grace came in a whirlwind, picked me up, and placed me elsewhere.

Maybe the wrestling will turn into a fierce embrace. It certainly feels like that’s what’s happening as I prepare to drive home to Tennessee in just ten days, the items I decide to keep packed into Sofia (my Corolla). Most of the furniture in my apartment was lovingly gifted to me by friends, so I’m giving it back one way or another. I’ve also had the chance to give a lot of my good work clothes away to my sweet neighbor who is working and studying Marketing full time and supporting herself and her little boy. He’s got an adorable smile and a shock of orange hair that I will always remember. I hope this losing of all the things that clutter my life continues. It’s starting to feel like freedom.

 

Lose this Life

Could Beauty be

so simple? —

A slow letting-go

of favors lavished on self,

a multiplying,

the miracle unfolding

with each unfurled finger.

No fetters.

Debts almost done.

Forsaking a life extravagant

for one that runs

wide-eyed into the thick

of Mystery beckoning.

For this I’d die,

Cut off the hands

holding me hostage.

For this, I’d die.

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