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Olivia Newport - Jordan Martins collage

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Nothing much happened in my life last week.

Most of us don’t sit around hoping for bad stuff to strike. But we do sort of hope good stuff will happen. Exciting stuff. Hilarious stuff. Impressive stuff. Facebook- and Twitter-worthy stuff.

I like those mountaintop moments as much as anyone. But if I get from Monday to Friday and nothing much has happened, I’m pretty all right with that.

Life is a layered experience, not a straight line between two dots on a timeline. I like to savor the texture. Last week my layers included the ordinariness of exercise classes, neighborhood walks, working a day job, writing in the evenings on a new manuscript, scratching the back of the young man next door who just had his heart broken, eating far too many cookies, delivery of a new stove (well, that might qualify as a highpoint, actually, if you’ve ever seen the old one), getting the week wrong on the recycling pickup schedule, putting new plants in the front flowerbed, cleaning up my office, listening to an audiobook for my next book club meeting.

Bits and pieces of this and that but nothing in particular. Layers and textures of life.

I have a nephew who is an imaginative visual artist and college art teacher. His hallmark is to take fragments of items like comic books, maps, old recipes, and an array of “found” materials and use them to create a compelling visual collage experience. He describes it as “interweaving of disparate elements into new hybrid possibilities.”

What he ends up with is not just the sum of what he starts out with, and every person who views his work can have a different experience of it. That is sort of the point.

And isn’t that the point of life? It is more than the sum of the bits and pieces of our experiences. The texture and disparate elements of what happens to us in a day or a week create hybrid possibilities of joy, of love, of sorrow, of laughter, of disappointment, of closeness to God.

We do sometimes get lost in the bits. Stand back and see the breathless, textured, layered collage that is your life. Savor what you see.

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