Small Strokes

I have always favored short brush strokes. As an artist, as a writer, I'm sort of a choppy illustrator of life. I prefer to paint the microscopic rather than the vista. I tried for a long time to undertake grander projects, and I always got intimidated which subsequently led to paralysis, which ultimately led to failure.

In my early twentysomethings, I wanted everything. I wanted the guy and the job and the degree and the hot little city life and the smart heels that accompany.

The truth is that I still want everything. But I want a different everything. And, as I turn the page on my twenties this week, I feel pleased and excited to I know that I have a better way to achieve this everything. See Kendra paint in short strokes.

I can draw up a number of superlatives from the last 30 years. I can remember some of the saddest, most heavy-hearted days. I can remember some of the most happy, airy days. But somehow I wonder if there is something deeper to those days. I wonder what micro-decisions I made on those days that really dictated their saddish quality, that painted that lovely memory. What I wore, what I didn't eat, whom I called, the work I didn't do. I think those short little brushstrokes are the real substance of our lives, and I feel grateful to know that I've got a deft paintbrush to carry into this next decade of life.

If you had asked me the day I graduated from college what I'd be doing when I was 30, I'm sure I would have thought I'd have a book published by now. That I'd have done something radical through Peace Corps volunteerism. That I'd done something something really...grand. It just seemed as though I had plenty of time to do so, if I didn't fritter away my twenties and stayed focused, eyes on that big great pumpkin of a prize.

It makes me laugh.

I watched "Oprah: The Farewell Season" opener (on DVR) today, and it struck me as kind of a crock of crap. It was all about giving the hard sell about Doing It Bigger, taking the big vacation plunge to Australia, saving the orphans of Africa.

I just want to get through each day knowing: - that my kids fell asleep knowing they are loved. - that my husband still finds me at least a little bit hilarious. - that God is still so merciful, good, and faithful to the end.

That's what I want for my 30th birthday. The present that can't be wrapped, the knowledge that can't be touched, the surety that can't be guaranteed.

In my e-mail is a folder called "melties." Contained therein are dozens of some of the most significant words that have ever been tethered to my heart. Some e-mails are just a few sentences long, but their weight is heavy and their effect can be sobering, humbling, encouraging or devastating depending on the day. But I return to them often. They remind me that someone took the time to write a little message, to paint a tiny little picture of Love looking back at me. The small little ministrations really are the grandest acts of love.