Thursday, September 15, 2011

Living Expansively

Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park
June, 2011

I don't write my posts in advance and although I do have a lengthy list of things about which I want to write, there are some days none of those appeal and I just have to trust that something will inspire me.  As you know I'm a very early riser and my morning quiet time is a non-negotiable.  Not all of you look to the Bible as your guidebook for living like I do (and that's o.k!!), but I don't think anyone can deny that there is a lot of wisdom to be found in its pages.  If you've ever quoted the "Golden Rule," you've quoted wisdom taken directly from the Book of Matthew. ("Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get."  Matthew 7:12) 

This morning I came upon the following "wisdom" while reading in the book of 2 Corinthians.  The apostle/teacher Paul was speaking to his friends who lived in the city of Corinth.  He said, "I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!"  (2 Corinthians 6:11-13 Message Translation)

I was particularly struck by the words, "your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way," and then a few words later, "live openly and expansively."  As I pondered those words, I began asking myself some questions.  I know that my life isn't small!  It is of great value in many ways.  But am I ever guilty of living it in a small way?  Does my daily routine along with specific actions indicate a desire to live expansively?  What would that mean?  And what changes could I make that might reflect a genuine desire to live openly and expansively in a very BIG way?  

Of course, I don't have answers for all of those questions, but as the day has unfolded, I've reflected on each of my actions and wondered if they show that I'm serious about living expansively or will simply be content to live in a small way.   Here are some observations I've made today:

1)  It is my sincere desire to be an person of encouragement to the people with whom I come in contact with as I go about my day.  It often bothers me that since I retired my world is so small and there are days I interact with very few people.  I decided that today my world would be expansive in that I would make an extra effort to interact positively with each person who crossed my path.  My eyes would make contact more frequently.  I would smile and find extra ways to show courtesy.  I would initiate conversation in situations where it wasn't required, but wasn't intrusive either.  THAT sort of action plan, I believe, is part of living expansively.  Going out of your way, doing MORE than necessary not because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to.

2)  At an eye doctor appointment this morning, I received irritating news once again.  (Many of you remember my eye travails earlier this year.)  It's back to glasses for at least two weeks.  My first reaction was not a happy one, but I decided that was living in a small way, so I chose to live expansively instead.  I have two very functional pairs of eyeglasses that are less than a year old, but for $78 dollars, I can buy two more pair.  I have decided to go get two of most colorful, funkiest sets of eyeglasses that I can find and wear both proudly!  One pair at a time, of course!  LOL!

3) I left the eye doctor to go walk at my favorite spot along our riverfront.  It was cloudy and had rained while I was at the doctor, but seemed to have stopped.  I called Mr. B and asked him to check the radar.  He said, "oh yeah, the rain's all gone."  Of course, I got as far from my car as I possibly could and it began pouring.  I got SOAKED.  But this time, I didn't even have to think about it. I just started laughing and enjoying the moment.  I was properly dressed.  It was neither hot nor cold and I was so thankful that my city which has been dry and parched all summer was getting some lovely gentle rain.  

Those are the things that come to mind.  But wow, what fun to take a concept I read very early this morning and make it my goal to practice it for the rest of the day just to see what happens.  

What about you?  NONE of your lives are small.  Everyone of you is unique and special.  But are you living in a small way?  Will you join me in living expansively?  I promise - fun things will happen.  You might even get soaked......................


  1. Love the idea of funky, colorful new glasses. I've done that in the last few years -- one pair is lavender and one is blue with sparkles (!) and I really like wearing them. I am very interested in the issue of seeing so few people daily. At work I interact with many, many people. But now that I've been home for the last few weeks recuperating this is not the case. It didn't matter the first week after surgery, but now it is a major issue on my mind for my planned retirement of next summer. Blessings and good wishes!

  2. Great post, Sharon. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh, yes, very small. I tend to be pessimistic. And I'm still looking for something, not sure what it is, but something. Life is basically good, but I know it could be great. Not sure how, though.

    Sorry to hear about your eyes:(

  4. Hi Sharon! Your recent posts remind me of my Scottish blogging friend's posts about the beauty of Scotland. You would love it:

    :-) Marion

  5. This is wonderful! Those words are quite powerful, and as a very early riser also, I understand that deep thoughts often come so clearly in those early hours. It's probably one of life's great lessons that we're simultaneously so small like a grain of sand and yet so utterly important to ourselves, others, and the world around us. Oprah talks about how we are energy -- and every time we interact with others, we're putting that energy out there -- positive or negative. I'd also add that in every thing we do, we're also interacting with ourselves and owe it to ourselves to put forth energy that is positive and life-affirming. I do try to live in an "expansive" manner, but we all fall short sometimes. I like your idea of examining every action. If we can examine quickly before making decisions, it can be life changing.

  6. Lovely post, Sharon. We all live in small ways, at least some of the time, me included. Wonderful affirmation of life and the gift of live to vow to live more expansively. I will keep it in mind as I move through my day. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  7. GREAT post! I got rained on yesterday - so I have a 1/2 paper route to do this morning. I was disappointed that the sun went away though!
    I love your wisdom - and where it comes from! ;)

  8. Great post, Sharon! This reminds me of a quote I read recently which I, of course, don't remember *exactly*, but it went something like, "I don't just want to live the full length of my life, but the width of it as well." And then that made me remember the quote from _Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood_: "Life is short but it's wide."

  9. Love this! Very much along the lines of what I was thinking about/questioning yesterday. I got an answer to my questioning when I went to a meeting last night. And I LOVE those verses you quoted.

    I'm stuck on you getting TWO pairs of glasses for $78? Where does that happen?

  10. Hi there my friend! I love this post. It's given me much food for thought. I also love the wording in the "Message" translation. I need to visit my local book store and have a look see.

    I'm so looking forward to lunch on Wednesday! It's been too long. Oh, and I can't wait to see your funky new glasses!

  11. I loved everything about this post! You have to post a photo of the new brightly colored glasses once you get them. Fun!

    You know sometimes I do live small and need to be reminded that each day is a gift. You gave me some added pep to my step today!