I just returned from a weeklong vacation to South Padre Island with my entire family - my siblings, their three spouses and one fiance, and my three nieces and two nephews. In the days leading up to this trip, my sister Brooke and my brother Mark both shared with me - independent of one another - that their kids were so excited about the upcoming trip that they were actually having trouble sleeping.
Brooke's children Rachel (8) and Christopher (4) were fighting their bedtime every night, and in general were, in my sister's words, "pinging off the walls" because they were so excited to be going to the beach to see their cousins. The night before the trip, my brother Mark's son Camden (2) lay awake in his crib for a full hour after being put to bed, talking to himself about how excited he was about going to "the ocean."
The morning after our first night in Padre, I awoke early to find Rachel already wide awake in her bed. Knowing she had been up late the night before, I said, "Sweetie, you need to try to sleep a little longer." She looked right at me and said, "I'm so excited I can't sleep."
This all got me to thinking: When was the last time that I was so excited about something that I literally couldn't sleep? Or, more specifically, when was the last time that I allowed myself to feel such excitement?
Of course I understand that, as adults, we cannot think and feel the same way that we did as children. After all, our adult lives are fraught with all manner of pressures and responsibilities. Newsreels and headlines inform us 24 hours a day of the violence, poverty, war, famine and injustice that plagues our world. We no longer have the luxury of seeing the world through the lens of a 2-, 4-, or 8-year old. For every one reason there is to feel excited and hopeful, there seem to be one hundred reasons to feel discouraged.
And yet, I don't really believe that those odds tell the true story. I think that when I don't allow myself to feel true excitement, it is less about the stresses, difficulties, and realities of adult life, and more about my unwillingness to really acknowledge and really pay attention to the daily goodness that colors my life.
So, ever since Padre, I have been really praying about this, and trying to think about the blessings of my life that make me feel true excitement. And I want to hear about this from YOU! What fires you up, floats your boat, and blows your hair back? (Keep it clean, please. There are some yung'ns who read this Blog)! ;-) I'll give you my list first (albeit, a partial one; we don't want this turning into the Christmas Letter). And I'll look VERY forward to seeing yours! Maybe we'll all turn each other on to some excitement-worthy things that we've been missing out on!
And who knows? Maybe we'll get so excited that we just can't sleep...
WHAT MAKES ME FEEL EXCITED:
1) Any and all time spent with my nieces and nephews.
2) My Dad's amazingly positive outlook, zest for living, and continued thirst for knowledge.
3) Laughing with my brothers and sisters.
4) Finding new meaning in a Scripture I've read hundreds of times before.
5) Sitting outside and listening to live music in Austin.
6) Bodysurfing at South Padre Island when the waves are really big.
7) Hearing or thinking of a song I love, and downloading it as soon as is humanly possible.
8) Buying shoes at Season Clearance for 75% off.
9) The life-sustaining and life-saving gifts of modern medicine.
10) Knowing that my God loves me Just As I Am - completely and unconditionally.
11) Knowing that there are people willing to die for our freedom and safety (military troops, policemen, firemen, etc).
12) Hearing a great sermon.
13) Flipping channels late at night and stumbling upon a movie that I love.
14) A rare cold day in Texas, one in which I have to wear a sweater, mittens, a coat, and a scarf.
15) Any comforting or funny memory of my Mom.
16) Getting personal mail or email.
17) Any wonder in the sky - a gorgeous sunset, a rainbow (we had a HUGE one in Austin yesterday), a beautiful sunrise (I won't lie - I don't see these often).
18) Anything Beth Moore says or writes.
19) Running into or making contact with an old friend.
20) Laughing so hard with girlfriends that it literally makes my stomach hurt.
Ok, your turn!