You should see the pictures on my camera roll.
Pictures of things I use to try and fix me.
Things like steaming mugs of coffee.
And the first fire in the fireplace of the year.
And the best Mexican food in my neighborhood.
And, of course, my dog, sleeping peacefully in the sun.
These are signs of warmth when I need comfort, things that tell me I’m full when, really, I’m empty, and pictures of blissful rest that escapes me when I feel restless.
Not to lean too far into introspection, but I sometimes wonder if my infatuation over capturing the perfect still life is just exactly that: My infatuation with the Perfect Still Life.
Like somehow the Perfect Still Life subconsciously means to me that imperfections are absent from my life, that my circumstances are perfect in that moment, and that everything about and around me is “fixed”.
Let me tell you what, my people.
There is nothing picture-perfect about midlife.
That perfect cup of coffee and a cozy fire, that insanely delicious guacamole (that I didn’t make) and the dream of an uninterrupted nap in the sunshine – these things might be just what the doctor ordered, but the “perfection” they offer is simply a mist.
It evaporates behind the lens in real life.
I always need to start over with fresh coffee the next morning. Fires require tending or they dwindle. And everybody knows guac turns nasty overnight.
And a nap? Are you kidding me?
If I could EVEN still my mind enough to sleep midday, you and I both know 72,000 people would pick that moment to need something RIGHT NOW.
Friends, I don’t know – and I don’t want to know – what’s on your camera roll. But I’m guessing like most people, you capture the images you want to see because they speak to you.
Things that speak peace in your life.
And things that spark hope.
And things that inspire joy.
And, of course, things that emote love and good cheer.
These things – the coffee and the food and the fireplace and the patch of sunshine on the floor – these are all good things.
Scratch that. These are all GREAT things.
But I’m convinced these snapshots are gifts that represent something far greater, far more sustainable.
Something far more PERMANENT for which I’m forever accidentally but undeniably searching.
And that something is the Perfect Love of God who shines through all the cracks of my imperfect life and a very broken world.
Friends, I offer you this thought: It’s absolutely right to celebrate all of your misty gifts, even while you still struggle with all the imperfections of your (not so) still life.
Enjoy your gifts in whatever images they present themselves tonight, and rest in God’s Perfect Love fully in those moments.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 (NIV)
By Whitney Westbrook
Whitney Westbrook writes about navigating midlife, mostly with grace. Because midlife is relentless and irreverent, and because we should all talk about it out loud more. Follow her for more misadventures and insights on all things midlife. https://www.facebook.com/SoVeryWhitney/