Yeah, I know- it’s been a while. I cannot quite pinpoint why, but I lost my luster for writing late last summer. The obvious reason- Murphy died, which brought on waves of sadness. I realize he was a sixteen year-old dog, and frankly that’s what sixteen year-old dogs often do- but it didn’t make it easier. I used to remember thinking “he still seems to have so much life in him,” and “he’ll live until he’s twenty and I’m fourty.” Well that didn’t happen. I miss him and talk to him every single day. BTW- if you’re ever around me outside and see me frequently gazing up, you might think “geez- he’s got his head in the clouds.” Well you’re right, because that’s where I still see Murphy from time to time- in the clouds. I don’t know if it’s my desire to see him that makes cloud formations appear like Dachshunds, or if he’s really communicating, but either way I’m still going to keep looking up. The view is often better looking at the sky than looking at this world these days anyway- no offense.
My other theory- writing was becoming more of a chore than something I did for joy. Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I’m all about chasing my joy, living my joy, and believing in the power of using joy as a navigational beacon in life. As a reminder- I’m speaking of true inner joy, not mere fun. We can all have fun here and there, but it doesn’t mean we are truly experiencing authentic joy. I argue joy is divine. Joy is within the blessings. Joy is within The Good News. Joy is a few layers deeper than being happy or having fun.
Oh yeah – and proofreading a bunch just isn’t me. Trying to find the perfect pictures- that isn’t me either. So you’re going to get some slang reading these from now on. You’re going to catch an error or two, and I don’t care. I’m sharing my heart, my own message, taking my own notes- so enjoy amidst the imperfection if you so choose. I wasn’t finding joy in trying to create a masterpiece every time I had a thought and wanted to share. I’m just going to be me and stop caring so much about perfectionism – which is ridiculous in the first place.
I’m gonna be real and raw as I write, per the norm, so here goes. I was in Vegas recently and playing a quick game of Craps with a friend of mine. Brittany watched as I rolled nearly every number besides a seven over a thirty minute period of time (approximately). We were passing through a casino and my friend suggested we try, because this particular establishment had lower table minimums. I don’t usually play craps because of the shellacking of losses one can take within just a few minutes, so lower table minimums seemed more intriguing. And yes- I’m not claiming to be a saint- I’ve gambled here and there. As with anything else, moderation is key, along with responsibility and some wisdom. We know when we’re chasing some frothy objective verses playing for a little entertainment. Just like I know that a glass of wine with a Wednesday dinner won’t ruin the next day, but a bottle just might.
Back to the Craps game- we won. I was the “shooter” and the dice just kept turning over sixes, eights, nines, elevens, threes, etc… but no seven. The dealers were impressed as they continued to push money back toward the players standing around the table. A crowd soon formed given our cheering and hollering. The other players shouted gleefully as they collected some winnings while pushing up others (doubling down- called a press). We were certainly “on a roll.”
My last roll came when I heard the dealer on the other end of the table tell someone trying to put money down to stop. I naturally thought for a split second that he was talking to me. I hesitated slightly mid-throw given the distraction. The result of course- A SEVEN (that’s a bad thing for those of you that don’t know the game). You don’t mess with a pitcher in the middle of a no-hitter. You frankly don’t bother him at all. Instead, the team just acts natural and lets him (or her) do their thing. Well- the charades at the other end of the table certainly helped the seven, at least that’s what it felt like at the time. Regardless, we all won and shortly after we walked away with our chips (a rarity in casinos).
Life can be like that sometimes, right? We get stuck on cruise control and just keep driving. Sometimes we might as well be asleep at the wheel, as we navigate minor changes along the way. All of the sudden we wake up and years have gone by. We’re a decade into a career with little to show for it, especially from a joy perspective, as it was merely serving as a “paycheck.” Maybe we are content with our body gaining an extra pound or two each month, until we realize we gained 20 pounds in a year (what happened?!)? We have our routines and life just seems to flow. We even have those euphoric times in life- like when we take a vacation and actually have fun escaping from our “normal life/routines.” BTW- if we have the most fun when we escape our normal life, that could probably signal some changes (just say’n).
Back to the Craps table of life. We’re rolling 3s, 5s, 8s and 9s. We’re feeling satisfied. People around us seem to like us, or at least they don’t seem to dislike us. We’re making a little money. Yet we inevitably only want more. Then we roll that dreaded 7, which often is someone else’s fault (of course that’s what we tell ourselves). We “lost” and that’s all we can focus on after. If you’re playing craps we cannot argue with the occasional 7. Just like when you’re liv’n life- we cannot argue when things aren’t always perfect.
The experience got me thinking- maybe the 7s in life are the wake-up calls. Maybe they’re the opportunity to walk away from something unhealthy with your head held high. Maybe they’re a second chance to make your health a priority. Maybe they’re warning signs of a diminishing relationship before it’s too late to salvage. Regardless, the 7s are inevitable because life’s not perfect. The real question is- what are we going to do when they happen? Do we simply ignore them and hope they don’t happen again? OR- do we remember them, respect them, and learn from them? Lessons in life are kinda like those 7s on a craps table- they’re inevitable. They can teach us something, and we’re always only one roll away from the potential of another.
Here’s my biggest point of this random blog post: lean into the sevens. They happen, they’re inevitable, and they’re there for a reason. Remember- seven is the most likely combination to be rolled with a pair of dice- which is why the phrase “the house always wins” is an eventual certainty. Learn from the mistakes, the hiccups, the hurts and the hang-ups (the sevens). Remember- life will continue to show us the lessons we need to learn in order for us to realize we aren’t supposed to walk through this life alone. Perhaps the more sevens we’re rolling in life- the more we’ve strayed from God’s purposeful/divine plan for our life? What if the sevens are meant to redirect us? Instead of ignoring them, burying them, having our ego flare up about them- we could use them. I say we roll the dice with more confidence and let them fall where they may. Our focus needs to be about learning- not winning. Our focus needs to be about discovering more of ourselves, more of God and more about our divine purpose in life. That’s tough if we’re always dreading of fearful of the next “loss” that could occur.
Also- the old “whoa is me” mindset is like someone playing craps and then complaining about a seven. You’re playing craps! I need to remind myself of this sometimes when things don’t go my way. I know I can be better with lessons experienced amidst my life. I know I can be better about limiting ego, leaning into the lessons, and having less expectations for things to be “perfect.” Life isn’t perfect, only Jesus Christ is. Maybe those sevens are meant to shift our focus back toward Him?! Regardless, sevens aren’t to be fought off and complained about, moreso learned from and moved beyond. And if we stopped focusing on the sevens so much (or fear of the next one), we’d enjoy rolling the fives, eights and nines even more! Get it??? It’s the same with life!!!
Regardless, keep liv’n. Roll your dice each day. Give your best and don’t let the sevens derail you. Better yet- learn from them. Love yourself. Chase your joy. Live without regrets. Forgive others. Forgive yourselves.
Until next time, which I suspect will be sooner rather than later- God Bless.