Sunday, July 23, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 23

During my search for a slower, sweeter lifestyle, I kept track of daily speed bumps--a whole cluster came from social media. I just couldn't believe it. After all, I am a Facebook Failure and a Terrible Tweeter. I prefer Instagram, mainly because I adore my tribe, but my phone isn't set up for alerts or email. How could social media be a problem?

I remember when my 6th book was about to be published, and the media experts were horrified when they realized I didn't have a Facebook page. A few books later, a new publicist gently reminded me that I hadn't updated my FB page in 17 days, and she offered sample topics. I was advised to check out pages of successful authors, where I found hourly updates: What's your favorite color? Caption this picture! 

I have no answers for the downsides of social media--the need for approval, the desire for monetary success, the me-centric nature of it all, the sheer number of Apps and platforms. You can quickly feel like a total loser if you don't post daily, much less pester your followers and friends with hourly questions: Favorite bird? Dog breed? Ice cream? Caption this! 

And yet . . . social media can be an unexpected source of joy.

Last week I checked in with an old friend. In 1990, l'd bought my Scottie girls from her, and this past spring, she'd been instrumental in helping me find a puppy. Now, on her Facebook page, I saw a call to action. Her husband is a minister, and their church was looking for kitchen cabinets, uppers and lowers. They'd had no luck. Everything was beyond their budget. But I just happened to have some in my barn, and at no cost, so I emailed her. 

There's a story behind these cabinets. When we'd remodeled our kitchen, I'd asked my contractor if he knew anyone who could use them--which included a granite slab for an island. He propped the slab in my garage and warned me not to jostle it. Then he said no one wanted old cabinets. I asked him if we could rework them to use as storage. He said it would cost a fortune and advised me to let his crew break down each piece and burn them. 
Eeek, how wasteful. I had them moved to the barn and sent up a prayer that they would find a home.
A few months later, I offered the cabinets to the garden club--they'd needed some for a new building, but I got a blank stare. I wondered if my contractor had been right.

Now, the cabinets had found the perfect home in a fellowship hall, where meals would be prepared for the congregation. I felt as if God had meant to save them for Reverend Jim and his church. 

For all of social media's problems, it also has moments of grace.
When the preacher drove up in a flatbed truck, Jasper and I went out to meet him, along with a few members of his congregation. He told me how long they'd been searching for cabinets, and he'd just about given up. As I told him the story of the cabinets, he smiled and bowed his head.
My heart filled with joy.
My cup runneth over.


  1. Thank you for listening to your heart and that still, small voice about something seemingly as trivial as cabinets. What an un-trivial blessing you gave and received in return. So...beautiful. I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Nothing is too small for God. Perhaps because compared to Him, everything is small. How he loves us!

    Michael Lee, this series has been such a joy. You have been truly inspired.

    1. Oops, I left a comment in the wrong place. I just wanted to thank you for your uplifting words, Yolie.

  2. Exactly... one man's trash is another man's treasure.

    The same is true as it pertains to character....or life choices, etc.

    For the past several months I've been listening to my dad in a not so subtle way speak about how it's not a good thing to be a homebody. That's not fact. That's opinion, isn't it? Enjoying a hectic life or one of solitude... isn't the point of life to see it as a gift meant for you? When did it become the world's job or responsibility to tell us how to enjoy our gift?

    1. I see this with a young person I know. A few people are always trying to tell him what to do with his one and only life. (FWIW, I'm a homebody and love it!)

  3. Yolie, as always, your words are a gift. Thank you!

  4. This is a beautiful story with a happy ending. We live in such a throw a way world! We recycle aluminum cans, etc. but are made to feel it's too much trouble or no one would want them attitude about things like your cabinets.

  5. Kudos to you for not giving up on those cabinets. I totally agree, there is oo much emphasis on social media and not enough living in the moment anymore. I don't do facebook, and resist ever starting.

  6. such a sweet story...never been a fan of Facebook, but I do love seeing Jasper!

  7. Oh my goodness, what a happy ending to those old cabinets, Michael Lee. I'm so glad that you listened to your heart and held on to to them. Now they're in the perfect home!

  8. Loving your series, savoring like a good book, glad I didn't have to wait 31 days to compile it all for one enjoyable read. I'm with you on keeping useful things for others :-)