When Did You Start Taking Life For Granted?

One weekend, I watched a beautiful documentary on Netflix called The Drop Box. The synopsis is as follows:

After finding an abandoned infant on his doorstep in the winter, a pastor builds a special drop box to keep any future foundlings safe.
The Drop Box tells the story of South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect the most vulnerable members of society. It is a heart-wrenching exploration of the physical, emotional and financial toll associated with providing refuge to orphans that would otherwise be abandoned on the streets. But The Drop Box movie is also a story of hope—a reminder that every human life is sacred and worthy of love. (from IMBD and The Drop Box website)

It gave me a healthy dose of humility, all while bringing me to tears and laughter. Not only does he rescue children who would have otherwise been abandoned in the streets, he has adopted 15 of them (the legal maximum). Many of these babies are only hours old or have mental or physical disabilities. He admits that he never thought he would ever need to adopt any, but says, "The reason I became their father was... God has adopted me."

After seeing the humbling nature of this man, it made me realize how incredibly blessed I am. How many things I take for granted, and how I tend to glaze over the little things that are big things to many others. Maybe you've taken these things for granted too, but to start to New Year off with a grateful heart, I'd like to share a few times in life that deserve more than a fleeting thought. 

In those younger years:

  • carefree & debt free // not understanding the value of money was bliss.
  • mom & dad // why did I ever talk back? Parents are the best.
  • family vacations // think of all the memories, meals, souvenirs, etc... 
  • first jobs // babysitting family friends or working in stores with probably a lot of other classmates... hard, physical labor was somehow fun.
  • holidays // you were always home (or at least with your family).

In those college+ years:

  • still somewhat carefree // though you probably had bills, rent, food (or alcohol), gas, phone, and tuition bills... it was a simpler time. Very hard, sometimes, but exciting. Future endeavors were within reach. That social life was amazing. 
  • worshipping together // there is something so special and unique about being in a church with 150+ peers your own age (plus the opportunity to hear various theology professors preach). Roommates, boyfriends, girlfriends... all there for the same purpose. Singing hymns and praying together. When I worship with those friends now, it feels so familiar and so connecting.
  • last years of peers // at college and my first job out, I had the privilege of being around lots of people my age/ stage of life. I never thought about that ending, but it did... and when we moved, it was a hard reality. Absolutely took that for granted.
  • metabolism // can I get an amen?
  • living with your best friends // you had friends/roommates to talk to until 4am. Or you could go get some late night Taco Bell after drinks. Finally, life without curfew! This is such a fun, unique stage of life that goes by oh so quickly. 

In those first years of marriage:

  • life is a date // lazy Sundays have a whole new meaning with a spouse. You are no longer pigging out and watching movies alone. Every little thing becomes more fun. Going to the laundromat, grocery shopping together, cooking, waking up next to each other. (Honestly, almost three years in, and most of this hasn't worn off. We're trying to let it last)
  • easy spontaneity // everyone is more than happy to warn you about losing freedom after kids, so why not listen and do whatever you can on a whim?
  • "don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life" // it's important to prepare for the future, but it's also easier to take risks, live off less money, and enjoy youthful, wedded bliss at this stage in life. Let go of perfectionism and live. Vacation. Say no. You're finally adult enough to make your own decisions and not feel bad about it!
  • quietness & clean-freakness // we know the quiet will someday end and my borderline OCD cleanliness will have to take it down a notch, so this is the time to revel. 

In those years with children (my best guesses from here on out!):

  • little moments // snuggles and middle of the night wake-ups. Sick snuggles too. Watching them develop each day, little by little. Wishing it would slow down. I'm sure there's too many to even give credence to. 
  • one-on-one talks // even if it's just about the garbage truck or the bird in the tree. Teaching them to pray and listening to their concerns. Especially sweet when there's more than one and you can catch a few conversations with just one at a time. 
  • little moments with your spouse // it's a relationship that needs as much love an attention as the children, but it often gets put on the back-burner because of the urgent needs of those little'uns. But those moments you can catch after bath-times and before you crash must be precious. 
  • that desire to learn // don't children remind you how fascinating the world is? Or how heartbreaking it is to know that some children don't have the opportunity to learn to read when you see the joy your child has in learning it?
  • family vacations // the tables are turning, now, aren't they? Now you see the joy your parents had on these excursions.
  • seeing your children succeed // In school, yes, but even as they enter the workforce. To see the values you instilled at work in their everyday lives. Their vocation is more meaningful than their paycheck, isn't it?

In those retirement years:

  • being husband and wife again // re-learn how to date and find hobbies to enjoy together. Not everyone is given this next part of life to share together. It's worth it to fall in love all over.
  • seeing your grandchildren // time with that next generation is so fleeting, but the bond between a grandparent and child is so precious. Having never met my grandfathers, it's worth it to take advantage of the time you have.
  • your purpose // you are still so needed by many around you and your purpose doesn't end at a certain age. Finding a way to share your stories, advice, and what you know isn't invaluable. Do people still write their memoirs? I think they should.

Remember that life is fleeting, friends. And I don't mean that morbidly - haha - but it truly is. The material things we own, or buy, or build will not follow us. Memories and little moments are what life is made of. Each day is a gift from God and whether you're old or young, rich or poor, close or far away... cherish the moments that are easily forgotten. At the end of 2016, will you reminisce on the goals you met or didn't meet, or will you think of how much you loved, listened, felt happiness, hurt, or excitement? I know the latter is true for me. So to begin this year, I choose gratefulness. For every moment I forgot to acknowledge last year, I hope to acknowledge them now. Happy New Year, friends - God's richest blessing to you!

LifeJoy Johnson