Several weeks ago, I got a text from my daughter’s teacher saying, “Can you bring a lunch for Eliana?”
The school was serving nachos, and because of the orthodontic work my daughter had done, the doctor had said no to nachos for a few days.
When I arrived at my daughter’s class, she was sitting alone at her desk while the rest of the children lined up to go outside for recess. Her mouth hurt and everyone else had finished lunch and now she would have to eat alone.
“Would you like me to stay for lunch?” I asked, as all the children left the classroom to play outside.
“Yes,” she said, her face brightening.
It was one of those moments when I sensed what I needed to do, even though it wasn’t part of the original plan for the day.
I decided to yield to the need, rather than the plan.
In other words, I chose love over schedules. I chose the inconvenient over the convenient. I chose making a memory over making a plan.
Even though I was spinning a dozen plates that week, I knew yielding to the need would reap far greater benefits than anything I had planned that day. And though I can’t remember a single thing we talked about over lunch, I can remember how special that spontaneous moment alone in the classroom was.
I’m learning the best moments of our lives aren’t usually the planned ones. They aren’t the finished projects, the accomplishments, or the completed to-do list.
Those things make me feel good, but they aren’t the things that make a difference in the end.
Sometimes the greatest stories we live are the ones where we choose love over the urgent.
On this day, my daughter needed someone to talk to and my to-do list could wait.Later, my daughter made a list of reasons why she loved me. One of them said, “I love you because you eat with me.”
She wasn’t talking about our evening meals together. I knew which day, which meal, which hour she was remembering: The one where I made a split second decision at school that would be the best decision I made that month–maybe even that year.
The Choice To Live a Better Story
As I’m learning to live a better story, I’ve realized with each season I make choices about what’s important. These choices include how to spend my time, how to love more, and how to live a life drinking deeply.
A few years ago, I put together a Summer Joy List of 10 things I want to do this summer.
It was a way of focusing my attention on living a better story with the people I love.
Some of the things on this list were just for fun, like eating homemade ice cream and going to outdoor concerts, making the most of this season of new schedules and warmer weather. It’s still a great list for this summer!
Together we can yield to the need, rather than the plan. We can seek the inconvenient moments over the convenient, and share grace in radical ways.
We can live JOY every season of the year.