“so many amazing things”

“there are so many amazing things we could do in life,” my friend strawberry said tuesday morning as we sat in panera, staring blankly over each other’s shoulders as we tried to wake up and haul ourselves out of the booth.

“there are,” i replied.

i’m not particularly brilliant early in the morning.

“like be in the CIA,” she said, now fully slumped over in the booth and hidden by the table.

let me explain something: strawberry is a dreamer. i have known her since she was born (eight months after i was) and she has always been an adventurer of the “faster, higher, stronger” sort. if it’s crazy, she wants to do it — and often does, whether that means diving off a cliff, getting up in the middle of the night to climb a mountain or baking close to three million pies (okay, i exaggerate slightly on that count). she lives life intensely, most of the time. she’s going backpacking in italy next summer for about a month because she wants to eventually move there. she’s a dreamer, so she’s a do-er.

i’m also a dreamer. whereas strawberry would dream of para-sailing over the grand canyon (you can do that, right?), though, i’d dream of , oh, growing a gigantic garden full of heirloom vegetables, or writing and publishing a novel. then i would buy seeds and forget to plant them, or write 10 pages with no plot in mind and get bored with my characters. i’m a dreamer partly because i like dreaming. i dream amazing things, but they stay dreams.

since tuesday, though, i’ve been wondering whether something has to be big to be breathtaking, or alarming to be amazing. my conclusion (with which i think strawberry would agree) is no.

although this year has probably been the hardest of my life so far, i think it’s also been the best. God’s taught me so much about Him, and about me, and about recognizing and appreciating the little daily joys He gives us. this summer i wanted to do “crazy things” to remind myself i was alive.

next year i want to look for the “amazing things” around me — things like reading deep books, holding babies, digging in the dirt, picking a bouquet, writing a poem, telling someone why i’m alive and glad to be — and do them. one every day. i’d like to. something small, maybe. or something mind-boggling, if that’s what God gives me to do.

God gave me life — physical and spiritual — so that i could live, not merely exist so i could congratulate myself at bedtime at having survived another 24 hours. as if i even could by myself!

and, if you read this and are sitting there scratching your head and wondering what on earth i’m blathering on about, g.k. chesterton said it much better:

“here i am only trying to describe the enormous emotions which cannot be described. and the strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. it was an ecstasy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity.”

so here’s to amazing things in 2011, when it comes.