Stay Alive

It's half past seven in the evening and the kids and I are still outside enjoying the last rays of the sun. Well, it doesn't look like it is going away any minute. Summer.

Much as I have come to adore winter with its snowy wonder, I can't help but have a tryst with summer. On the first hand, summer has been my first love.

With summer's crystalline days, trees are so green that envy must be jealous. I tend to look up more. The skies are their best of blue, even birds just have to stage their pirouettes with it as the backdrop. As I'm writing, a lone bird is showing off by sailing, cutting through the winds with his wings with the precision of a machine. But it is not a machine, for it is way too fluid. Weightless, it dips and soars.

Soon he is joined by a flock of his kind. It is a party up there. They look like dancers in a ballroom, lively, yet graceful.

I can't help smiling as I watch them, wishing I'm up there too. I am envious. I keep watching until I can feel a crimp developing on the back of my neck.

I look at my toddler instead. She has been sitting with me beside the kids' watering hole that we keep for the summer. But this time, the watering hole is empty. We didn't bother to fill it up. Little Roxy is on all fours on the grass pretending she's a cat. All of a sudden, she stands up and marches around. "March!" she commands. So I chant, "March! March! 1, 2, 3, 4!" And I start singing "I may never march in the infantry... but I'm in the Lord's army. Yes, sir!" She is happy. I can see that from the big smile on her face.

After awhile, she runs around squealing in delight. Her dainty feet is bare. I didn't notice her taking off her shoes. I must've been lost again in my thoughts. Happens often. Then she twirls around, dancing. I can just imagine the juicy green grass cooling her feet, while I, uptight and tense, sit rigidly suffering through the heat of the sun. Only then did I notice my stance.

I heave a deep sigh. I could easily become a dry watering hole. Tough, ungiving. Does life do this to me? Or do I allow hardship to make my life less of what it is, and myself less of me? Where is the splashing water of my life--- the delight, the passion--- that flows like fresh water?

Ah, often, I forget. Life is never rigid. It may seem to be with the precision that days and seasons come. But even days flows into each other, as seasons do. Winter doesn't abruptly stop, but as it often happens here in the Sakhalin island of Russia, it extends as far as the month of May. Or sometimes not.

I forget because I am chained, as most people are, especially women, to our rigid duties. But life is a flow. We need to allow ourselves to dance to the flow of life, weightless, free, fluid, twirling to the rhythm of our dreams.

Yes, dreams. Dreams for our families. Dreams for ourselves. Let these dreams fuel us with desire to fulfill the duties needed to live out our dreams. And I'm not talking about money. I'm talking about doing life--- living it whether in poverty or wealth--- ALIVE. Not just  merely breathing. Going through the motions. But about filling our lives with beauty, purity, authenticity, courage.

Jesus died on a cross for our sins. He stayed in the tomb on the Sabbath. But He didn't stay there forever. He rose from the grave. He is ALIVE!

However, many people (like myself at times), Christians included, live life like they're in the grave. We need to claim the life that Jesus is giving us. Jesus said to Martha while on His way to resurrecting her brother Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25, 26). Right now, we already have access to life as it should be lived through Jesus. We have to live in Jesus. Alive with His love. Free from our self-inflicted chains. Fueled by His spirit. Flowing in life with His beauty.

The possibilities are endless. This fueled life flows into our families, our work places, our churches, our communities. But first, it must come alive in us.

Come to Jesus. He said, "I am... the life." (John 14:6). He gives life.

By the time I have to come inside the house, the crescent moon is in the sky even when it's still bright. The day is flowing so softly into night. Thank God for life.

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