|photos by Kelsey Lynne Photography|
Every Christmas I read a book by Charles Dickens. I love the social critics he laces throughout all his stories, and just his overall grasp on humanity. That man knew the inter-workings of his fellow human creatures, and he wasn't shy about bringing them to light.
This year I choose Oliver Twist, his early book about a tenderhearted orphan boy who is greatly mistreated. Dickens uses sarcasm and dark humor to draw attention to England's condition during his time --Poor Laws, child labor, child criminals, and the arrogance and ignorance of the wealthy. Yet even though this book is fiction and written in the 1830s, the condition of the human heart is not much changed, and while pouring over this book with pen in hand, I could not help but underline the following, since every syllable I read of it reverberated in my own heart.
"Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of external objects. Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision."
After I read those words I reread them and reread them again. All I kept thinking was just how true this particular observation by Dickens had recently become in my life. Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, it has been hard to view the world we live in as anything more than a dark, disgusting, hateful place. There is so much evil, and in the light of tragedy we are forced to step out from inside our little protective bubbles in life and recognize it. We have to recognize it because it's there. Even Dickens says you are "in the right" to view the world that way. Evil is prevalent. And the evil that took place at Sandy Hook has been felt throughout or nation --in the workplace, in the classroom, at home, and on our blogs.
I've read multiple posts written by beautiful, intelligent women who are simply heartbroken by the tragedy. Emotions range from anger, fear, and disgust. We have all been infected by this evil like we will be by many more to come. It enters into our minds and hearts, making us ill, causing us to view the world we live in with these jaundiced eyes. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone touched by this tragedy.
(I promise this post has a point.)
And getting right to that point. Dickens states that "the real hues are delicate, and need a clearer vision." When I read that I felt conviction. Oftentimes, I think it is in our nature to dwell on tragedy and allow it to seep into every facet in life. The tragedy is ugly and overbearing. It consumes us and overtakes every action we set out to do. We live joyless and in fear. We forget about the good stuff.
The good in this world is delicate and much harder to see, but especially when you and I are consumed with dark and gloomy thoughts. So in light of this tragedy, I want to share with you the good stuff that's been going on in my life. Because even in the dark times, God is there. His presence may be harder to see, but, oftentimes, He's in the small things.
The good stuff like staying up late laughing with my husband till there are tears in my eyes because his name ideas for our future babies are so ridiculous.
The good stuff like paying for the lady's coffee behind me at the Starbucks drive thru.
The good stuff like hearing from a old friend that she just got her dream job.
The good stuff like receiving Christmas cards in the mail.
This list could go on, but this post is already way too long. I simply just wanted to encourage you to not forgot about the good stuff in life because it is there and it is beautiful. God is in the good stuff.
So tell me, what's the good stuff in your life?? Maybe it's watching your child sleep? Or reaching out to a Sandy Hook victim by way of donating or writing a letter? The good stuff looks different in everyone's life. I'd love to hear yours.