After reading Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, I feel inspired to live each day to the fullest, to wear it out, and wring out the beauty that it has dripping inside. Niequist’s perspective is that each day is a gift from God that is meant for us to live the richness out of it and enjoy every moment as though it is a gift. She also charges that since God is ultimately a creator and we were created in his image that means that we were meant to create as well. I really appreciate her perspective of enjoying the adventure of life and to create something new everyday.
Niquest sums this idea up in her last chapter aptly titled Cold Tangerines:
“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
Who doesn’t want this? Who doesn’t want to push the stress and worry aside to feel the sun on their skin, the bitter taste of their morning cup of coffee, and listen to the belly laugh of their best friends. I do. And I know that in order to enjoy the days given to me, I need to look at each moment as a gift that is meant to be unwrapped, appreciated, and then used. I want to be mindful of not getting wrapped up in the details that don’t matter like managing online profiles or constantly checking email, but instead focus on pouring into the people in my life that I see everyday by intently listening to them and being present with them in the moment. It also means to put fear aside and mediocrity by taking risks and putting myself out there…it means rolling the windows down and singing to the top of my lungs “Wagon Wheel” and not worry what the person in the car next to me thinks.
In enjoying the gift of today, I also want to create. It’s scary when I say I’m a “writer,” because at times I don’t think I am, but when someone reads my posts, connects with it, and reaches out to tell me that they gained something from reading it…I am humbled and understand the beauty of creating. It’s not about me and whether or not I think I’m a writer, rather it’s about being vulnerable, honest, and open with my life and being willing to write. I find it therapeutic for me that as I write, something that was buried deep down inside of me comes to the surface of existence as it becomes words on paper. I hope that by creating words from my life that others read, that they start to think of ways that they can connect with others by creating something from scratch themselves, whether it be writing, painting, dancing, singing, or through photography. I also hope that when they read the struggles, challenges, and joys from my life that they realize that they are not alone in their pain, loss, victories, or fears and that they will realize that the sun will rise the next morning and be a fresh new gift to enjoy.
Today I’m challenging myself to unwrap the gift of today that God has given me to make the most of it and to create something new that had never existed before. I want to wear the day out like my favorite pair of Ann Taylor Loft jeans that have holes in them from wearing them way too much, but I keep sewing them up to deflect them from the trash and continue wearing them because I will never find another pair that fits so well. I want to wear my life well like my jeans and I want to have that life that Niequist describes, “a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud.” I hope this kind of life for you too!