The Complete Joy of Abundant Life
Posted: 3/28/2018

Written by Bethany Brant

My first pair of glasses to correct an astigmatism rested on my little nose at the precious age of three. They were brown and thick and about as fashionable as an old sock. Keeping them clean became an epic battle where, usually, for days at a time, the particles of grit and grime and dust and dirt won. 

“Clean your glasses!” someone would say, and with a swipe of a wet cloth, miraculously, I could see, again. 

“It’s like magic!” I’d say in bewilderment. 

Adventures in Gardening

I wouldn’t claim to have a green thumb. I have only ever had one plant, a fern named Miss Ivy (because I’m not a botanist), and she stayed alive for as long as she did because it’s hard to kill ferns. She sat in a handsome pot on my kitchen counter for years, receiving water only when her leaves were drooping and withered and such an awful shade of yellowish-green that I’d finally notice her and come to the rescue. I brought Miss Ivy back from the brink of death more times than I care to admit, and when she finally did go to the great garden in the sky, I vowed never to own another for as long as I lived because it gave me such a heart attack to see a plant that close to death so often.

Illusions of Normalcy

“Why’d you wait so long to get it looked at? We don’t live in a third-world country. You have health insurance!”

This from the orthopedic surgeon who, 10 days ago, performed an open release of the carpal tunnel in my left hand. He described the nerve bundle running through the carpal tunnel as being so pinched that it took on the shape of an hourglass. This pinched nerve was causing the feeling in my thumb and first three fingers to go away, leaving me to rely on muscle memory to perform routine tasks like putting on makeup in the morning and pumping gas at the service station. I couldn’t get the cap off the dishwashing detergent because it was a squeeze-and-twist cap, and I couldn’t feel the cap well enough to do either of those motions. I have the yellowish-brown remnants of a large bruise on my shin where I’d thought I was holding the car door, but because I couldn’t actually feel it, it slipped out of my hand and into my leg. It took three months of this before it occurred to me that this numbness was an issue, and that this awkward sensation, or lack thereof, didn’t have to be my new normal.

Leaning into Abundant Life

I confess to sometimes being too preoccupied with reaching my destination to enjoy the journey, such as the case of my complete neglect in taking care of my hands. My life’s plan doesn’t often include stopping to smell the roses or any other flower that might be blooming along the way; I don’t have time for that, and certainly didn’t have time for Miss Ivy. I’m willing to forgo better accomodations if it means I can stay true to the course I’ve charted, as illustrated at a very young age, wearing dirty glasses.

The Bible tells us that Jesus came that we might have life… but not just life. Not just plain, old, dirty-glasses, dead-flowers, numb-hands life… but life, more abundantly (John 10:10, emphasis mine). His life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection set in motion a path for each of us to experience all that life has to offer in complete joy because He has forged a path of abundance for us. We need only slow down and breathe it in.

As we approach Easter Sunday and consider the pain of Christ’s sacrifice and rejoice in the resurrection, may we have the grace to rest in His ways and the courage to lean into the abundant life Christ offers.