Two knights, miniature in stature stand outside my front door fighting for a cause unbeknownst to me. Swords drawn and eyes squinted through the narrow slit in their helmets, they act out an imaginary duel. There's likely a dragon to defeat and a princess hidden away in a castle far on a hill, distressed and in need of rescue. Swinging wildly at the air I hear their angry voices muster up an aggressive, "AAhhha! Now we've got you!" They've won and there will certainly be a price to pay for whatever injustice has been committed, sanctions we'll leave up to the armored champs.
Feasibly a reflection of the brave hero tales we've read, now coming to life in my front yard. Kids are funny like that - all that goes in will ultimately spill out in daily play.
At the beginning of this year I decided I needed to rethink my days and question where my time was being spent. Busy as I was I needed to question my down time and ask, was I filling myself with beauty and wisdom? I wanted to be aware of the ins of my life. What was I putting in and was it bearing good fruit? Was it pointing me toward Christ? And was it an example of time well spent to those around me? I wanted to fill myself so full of virtuous living it seeped out of me as it did those knights under the maple trees.
I started by looking at the foods I was taking in, which were easy to eliminate since the cookies and petit fours of Christmas were obvious unhealthy choices and not a routine part of my life anyway.
It was the defaults I had acquired that needed a shift. A few "defaulted ins" can result in numerous hours per week watching TLC on YouTube. The habit of scrolling the longest string of other peoples business in history called social media is a common dependence for many, myself included. I realized the things I often drifted toward lacked richness and direction, trading precious aliveness with idleness having an ineffective soul filling result.
So I looked for the meaningful and made a conscious decision to let in the good, the virtuous, the beautiful every chance I got. In a stack of heart replenishing books read two or three at a time, a revamped meal plan including daily snacks (an old system I had let slip), and shifting what I once gravitated toward into writing or taking walks, reading scripture or tackling that book stack, viewing famous paintings, learning to play the violin again and reaching for a healthy snack that takes time to prep but gives an extra moment to pray.
And sure enough more goodness came spilling out of me! More attentive patience, creative ideas, peace filled school days and thought filled conversations around the dinner table.
Just as my two knights who had been given great stories to hold in their hearts, I too want to let the goodness going in have no choice but to overflow in abundance onto the rhythms of my day. What goes in must come out after all, so why not fill up on the good stuff?
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11