Thursday, September 4, 2014

What Makes a Love Shack

I have this folder in my photo catalog labeled "Love Shack." I slide pictures in there from time to time while loading pictures from my phone or off my camera. It is something I do with pretty much all emotion and almost zero thought. If it feels like a photo that seems like a "love shack" photo, I slide it in there. I was looking through this folder the other day and it got me to thinking, "What Makes a Love Shack?" Was it it that makes me put certain photos in that folder and leave others out?

We all know the song, Love Shack. Actually the song just reminds me of being at the skating rink in fifth grade. If there were any serious sexual metaphors they all went over my head. But I would say the idea of me cruising around the skating rink and that song blasting is a high that seems true the beautiful moments in life. The skating rink is dim, strobe lights and disco ball going. The stale air that smells of old skates flying by my noise as I go round and round. Smelling popcorn and cotton candy towards the front of the rink. The cool 20 something DJ blasting music and hearing the arcade games going in the background. Perfection.

When I actually looked up the lyrics I did like this part:

"Sign says 'Stay away, fools'
'Cause love rules at the Love Shack
Well, it's set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the highway"

That sort of sounds like the bohemian dream to me.

I decided to put up some of the pictures I have in this folder. I like that they all loaded in random order. There are flowers through out pictures of some what crazy and whimsical walls.  Gardens and indoor plants. Vintage and wooden toys. Quilts and always a laundry line.

Lately I have been thinking about happiness. Not just being thankful or grateful. But happy. Obviously everyone knows happiness comes and goes. It comes in more abundance sometimes than others. There's grief and suffering. There's joy and gladness. And then there is just that old and strange word. Happy. It seems to dance around me. Coming and going almost unable to catch it. Like a firefly, lighting up in front of my face and then before I can put it in a glass jar to keep it forever it is  gone again.

People post stories of people with awful lives. And I feel like compared to them I should be happy. I see war and death. And think I should be happy. I should be happy not because of those things happening, but out of guilt that if that is not happening to me, I am lucky and should be happy. I have clean water and clothes and shelter. Clean and nice shelter, not just a box or a real shack. But so many of us are not happy. I am not trying to get into a lengthy discussion about depression. I know the topics of depression and sucide are serious and often debated. I do believe people often need medication and professional help. Because sometimes it is so much more than just looking for happiness. When I hear of people commenting sucide my heart breaks. I don't have the impulse to write out some post (Like I have seen before) about how this person gave up and should have went to God. I don't think it is that simple. But I do have this sad feeling, more of a pit of despair for whoever that person could be. There was a sadness inside too heavy and painful to bear for one more moment. I think deep down that these people are not selfish but so empathic to the world around them that they can stand it not longer. The pain is too great. I do believe God is there, and that He can help. But the brain is a complicated and fragile thing, and I don't have it figured out.

All this to say that I often struggle with depression. I think it is why my environment is so important to me. I am a visual person. I love beauty and want to be surrounded by it. I love that Andrew buys me flowers so often. I really think they do help me. I think nature is something that is very therapeutic for me. I long to be in the sun hanging laundry or out in the forest. I want to swim in the ocean and hike through the woods. Being a stay at home mom of two that are two and under... those things don't always happen like I would like them to. Some days are really hard. My days can be minute by minute helping those around me, maybe taking twenty minutes for myself... and then not until the late hours of the night when everyone else is asleep and I alone with my thoughts again.

I feel bad to not feel happy. I am grateful. I am thankful. I have seen children beg in India, my children always have food. I have seen parents lose their children, I have lost a classmate to murder, I have watched my parents divorce and my husband grew up without a father because of cancer. I know real pain. Most days that is not my life. My days have smiles and baby drool and good food and cool air flowing from the clean vents. I am so thankful. I am not always happy.

I think I decorate and organize and place things all around me as a little game of bringing a smile to my face. I will make happiness. I will make rainbows and apples in the window sill make it feel like the world is a happy and beautiful place.

There is always the overwhelming bearing reality that the world is a fallen place. No one can deny it. We all run to certain things. I pray and ask God to help me see how I can change. Because it has never been about God making my life a happy one, but about my eyes being able to see the blessings and beauty that surround me.

I lie awake at night sometimes almost angry at the amount of work I do all day for everyone else. And then something happens to that anger when I see a post from a person on Instagram who has a lost a child, or a friend posts a picture of me and my beautiful babies on Facebook. The anger and selfishness starts to fade and gratitude and thankfulness turn my heart to love. My biggest blessings are the things that take the most work, time, and energy. My family.

No one has a perfect life. Everyone has some sort of suffering. It is not about finding the perfect life or place where there is no pain, but about changing yourself. Maybe that means decorating your house or staying up all night making art or living in the woods. Prayer that changes the heart will change my eyes as well. Thankfulness is a powerful thing. I'm not saying there is a secret way to be happy. I think I do certain things to help pull myself out of depression. I'm not claiming to be clinically depressed or know all the answers for those that are. I am just talking about me. I am talking about trying to learn contentment and to choose to get out of bed each morning and be thankful for what I have. And not to compare it to someone else or anyone else. Anywhere.

I want to work on being a more positive person in all the little moments. To take an apartment that has all walls painted white and hanging up rainbow colors of scarves. Bringing in the life of living plants and wildflowers. Turning on the music and hugging my babies and realizing my mindset is a powerful thing. A Love Shack is a place where you choose happiness and love.

Click here for other love shack pictures

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