Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Slice of Life

One day in May, at my favorite consignment store, I found a 2016 Mary Engelbreit calendar/datebook. Artist, Mary Engelbreit, captures delight and fun in the childlike expressions, clothing and sayings that are part of each drawing. For a dollar, I bought a book of sunshine.

"Who would want to get rid of a brand new calendar only five months into the year?" I wondered, carrying my purchase out to the car with excitement.

I was so eager to look at the pictures, I flipped through the book at stoplights all the way home. I leaned the calendar against the wall in my office so I could enjoy the cover from any angle where I sat.

About a month later, I picked up the calendar to see the art once again. Opening to the first page, which was the last week of December, 2015, I found entries written more like a journal than a listing of events and appointments. The writing continued through January 11, then stopped.

At first I hesitated to keep reading, as I felt like an intruder to someone's private writing. The notes included daily activities with an infant (teething), a preschooler (playing with dinosaurs), describing household chores like folding laundry, going to the grocery store, eating out, getting young children to sleep, allergy testing, haircut, visiting an elderly aunt after a funeral, preparing for vacation, and drinking hot chocolate after playing in the first snow of the new year.

The last entry on January 11, says, "two days until we leave for Florida!"

Reading these thirteen entries, I received a glimpse of a mother's life, a "slice of life."

It's not the first time I've been part of "a slice of life." For example, whenever we moved, we left behind our own "slice of life" and entered a new church, where I felt I was starting to read a book in the middle, jumping in halfway through that church community's story.

Baskets are prime merchandise I look for at garage sales. When I have a new-to-me basket, I wonder its history. Where was it purchased? What did it hold? In this case, I can only guess about the past, but I provide a new "slice of life" to the basket, making new memories with use.

A friend gave me a stack of incomplete quilts already pieced - leftover squares, triangles and hexagons - given to her or purchased at yard or estate sales. They sat in my closet for a few months, but I finally brought down her pile of fabric shapes and got to work. When I handled the pieces, I realized I was again part of a "slice of life." I wondered about the woman who put the quilt pieces together? What was her name? Where did she live? How did she choose the fabric? Why was she making the quilt? I wish the fabric could talk!

"Slice of life" can provide opportunities for our imaginations to wonder about circumstances, people and events. Encounters with people as we go through our days, at work, in the store, at the library, at the gas pump, are our own "slices of life" where we can spread God's love. We don't need a lot of time or even words to be a source of blessing to another. Even a smile, a non-verbal affirmation, is love.

The image below shows how God envelops our heart in God's heart - the only requirement to fill a "slice of life" with love.

I am sorry the young mother who began the year with prolific writing was unable to continue. She was providing "slices of life" that in the future would have been fun to revisit and remind her of busy days with young children. However, I am blessed with bright pictures by one of my favorite artists who brings joy and delight to my own "slices of life."

Reflection Question: What "slices of life" did you find today?

Prayer: God, open our hearts today to realize "slices of life can become moments to fill others with your love. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but when I was at a doctor's office today, the front office staff knows me well and asked me about myself, and I ended up sharing more from my own life--I should have asked about theirs to get a little slice of life! I guess sometimes we can share a slice of life from our own little corner of the world...maybe?

    Also, how astonishing that someone would give away an appointment book with personal diary entries. I wonder if she realized some of her life would be shared with someone else? You handled her life experienced with tender curiosity and compassion. :)