Penny and I have been participating in a longitudinal study on stress and asthma since she was in utero, and we’ve been sending samples of Penny’s hair and nails ever since. Today we did her year-seven samples, and she got paid $60 for sending in a lock of her hair and ten fingernails. Nick, of course, asked, “Can send in my hair and get $60?” Fortunately, Penny was feeling generous and bought her brother Fortnite virtual goodies. There is a lot of goodwill between them right now, which makes me very happy.
Have you ever come across someone in your life who is so confident and so at peace that you thought, hey, I want what some of that? That’s how I felt the other day when my aunt invited me over for dinner. It’s funny because I’ve known my aunt all my life. She is not a fancy person, she is not rich, and things have not always gone her way. And yet, as she talked and touched upon some of the features of her life, I notice so much peace and confidence in her, and not an ounce of bitterness or regret over mistakes or missed opportunities. It’s funny to me, because I’ve known my aunt all my life, but only now notice this. I suppose I needed to get old enough to see that peace is not situation-dependent, and you can be comfortable in your skin no matter how much money or success or accomplishments you’ve enjoyed in your life.
When I asked my aunt about this, she told me that we must allow God to fill all the empty space in our soul to feel completely at peace. How wonderfully concrete! Our soul, an open room with large windows, sunlight beaming in, touching every corner and surface in the space. I had always thought that Christian faith was somewhat underwhelming unless it was put to use to make an impact somewhere. Perhaps this is a product of all the salvation talk at Church, that sometimes feels like it’s driven by the need to reach a quota, but I also think this idea is rooted in my immature notion that more is better. If the only place you manage to “make a difference” is with your own family, then this isn’t impressive. I’m starting to think, though, that spiritual growth, just for the sake of it, is a good thing. You’ll live better; you’ll be a pleasure to have around, you’ll have peace no matter where life takes you.
So, instead of filling our souls with material things, maybe all we need to do is draw the blinds. And Tia, if you’re reading this, you are truly inspirational!