Some welcomed 2016 with hearty resolutions, excitedly popping streamers. Others of us pinned up the new calendar with cautious optimism. A health diagnosis, arms still waiting to hold a baby, job situation, move, unanswered prayer, or “you fill in the blank” situation brings with it potential to crush or thrill and we sigh, wondering which way the pendulum will swing.
The New Year always brings with it some kind of unspoken expectation. We watch the ball fall in New York and people are hugging and dancing and in all the hoopla we dream of how life might be better this year. It’s almost cultural.
I started thinking about my bucket list and wishes I’ve yet to see fulfilled. I’m drawn to prayer, dreams, and inevitably something different. Yet these hopes exist alongside reality, which as I sip my coffee right now means a mound of dishes waiting to be put in the wash while it cleans another full load, a pile of laundry spilling over the hamper, and a bill pile that needs tending to. It’s challenging to live life everyday filled with fresh, expectant possibility when the demands of real everyday life drain.
This exhaustion begs the question of what the good life really is.
The other night we hosted our annual friends Thanksmas, except this year it was Thanksmasnewyear because there’s been a lot of commotion in all our lives lately. As I prepared to set the table, I reached for the Christmas China, symbolizing their ability to come as they are – no matter what life looks like - and in them we see the very best. Then I wrote out conversation cards.
The kids ran around simultaneously destroying the house and making memories. Our electric knife broke and Charlie carved the turkey berserk with a kitchen knife. Our friends arrived and we filled our plates high with communal food made with love by our second family.
Answers to the questions began, even from the kids. In each of our lives 2015 left scars and room for 2016 miracle. There was sharing of that which we wish wasn’t true and choked back sad tears. Later we’d laugh to the point of happy tears over a wadding versus folding toilet paper conversation that I shall take to my grave.
It was nothing different than what current life has to offer but so. very. satisfying.
I realized that this year won’t be great because of what we get out of it but what we see in it. It’s not about making life different but pining gold in what is.
It’s time to redirect energy. To quit trumpeting the idea that different will be better and more fully appreciate what’s in front of us – the whole messy, happy, sad, organized, chaotic bit. Because, we can either embrace life as it is and suck all the beauty out of it or miss truly living altogether.
And eat off the China.
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