This isn’t a milk and honey season for us. Everything– time, money, the ability to stop and simply be present for a few hours each day– seems to be in short supply.
The temptation, then, is to mourn the loss. To look backwards at those years when the bank account was fatter and we could routinely bless others, to regret that days are no longer spent curled on the couch reading book after book to the children splayed all over the floor. To recall all of the moments that are not now and wish them here, to be lived again and again, forever.
Or to look forward, into the future I am praying will come, when finances will be easier and this child will be less likely to spend Circle Time rolling on the floor and that one will be more established on the path to adulthood.
Except… what I have is here. Now.
I have a six year-old who has suddenly decided that making decisions is far, far too difficult, and is usually grounds for tears.
I have too much soggy grass and outright mud to allow wiggly littles too much outside time to satisfy their need to move.
I have a teenager who can’t quite figure out that it’s ok to lose a board game to an 8 year-old.
I have a bossy rooster that is one step away from dumplings.
I have too many pounds on my hips.
I have fines on my library card.
I have a son ready to leave for college tomorrow.
I have a leaky roof, and one vehicle, and a bathroom sink that needs a new faucet.
It’s easy to wish it all away, or push it under the rug, or complain about the ease of the lives of others. It’s so easy to tell God where I think this all ought to go, how I think the next chapter should be written.
But doing so would, ultimately, deprive me of the little joys tucked inside every moment. Even the less than beautiful ones; if you dig deep enough, you can unearth some fragment of blessing. The whiny 6 year-old has a soft heart. The leaky roof is, after all, a roof… not a heart valve or failing kidney. The energetic kids stuck inside may be the last ones to ever recreate Little House scenes in the living room. The teen son isn’t lacking motivation.
I have what I have, warts and all. I can either wish bits away and make myself miserable concentrating on the have not and the if only, or I can embrace what is:
A line of muddy boots by my back door.
A husband who doesn’t mind tossing the laundry in, or getting dinner going, or listening to a new reader stumble through Dick and Jane.
Stacks of books waiting by the reading chair.
A cup of tea.
A dog who thinks my lap is prime real estate.
Good stuff. My stuff. What’s real, and true, and allotted to me by the Lord in this time and place. Embracing it is the first step of gratitude, and the biggest part of creating a life worth living.