So far, this Christmas is not going as planned. This is our second year not going home to Texas to spend Christmas with family. For over 20 years, we’ve had a well-oiled machine for the season. Land at DFW Airport. Head straight to my brother’s house to bake cookies. Take a long walk with my sister-in-law to work off the calories from the cookies. Eat more cookies. Find and wrap all the presents shipped to their house. Eat more cookies. Run last minute errands. Eat more cookies. Ride horses at Marshall Creek. Eat more cookies. Go play at the local climbing gym. Eat more cookies. Make sure we have all the food for Christmas dinner. And on and on.
See what I mean? Well-oiled machine.
Now, in my early 60’s, I’m faced with creating my own Christmas traditions. Even though I’ve baked plenty of cookies this year in North Carolina, my mind has been drifting into feeling sorry for myself territory.
Today, I started seeing things differently. This morning, CBS had a piece on gratitude. They showed kids talking about what they were grateful for, and also talked about how gratitude can help us create more connected relationships, improve our sleep and even help us be more resilient and optimistic.
I had a “well, duh” moment as they reminded me how good gratitude feels. It literally changes me from the inside out. Right there, at the breakfast table, I was suddenly awash with gratitude for the delicious omelet I was enjoying, on a plate that I had made with my own hands.
That reminded me to be grateful for my husband, who had the courage to give me a bunch of pottery equipment eleven years ago, when he knew full well it would take me a long time to truly accept the gift.
And that reminded me to be grateful for my warm, cozy and roomy home, which just works for both Russ and I, including having a studio to play with art.
And that reminded me to be grateful for my daughter, who is continually inspiring people with her life and her art and her words of wisdom.
The whole day became a meditation on gratitude. Walking through the grocery store and finding everything I needed. After the shortages the last 18 months, I’ve come to realize the supermarket is truly a miracle.
Life in the modern era is a miracle. We flip a switch and the lights come on. We have hot water coming through our pipes instead of hauled to the tub. We have heat without having to stoke a fire. Our “outhouse” is in house – especially nice on frigid mornings! And we have groceries that someone else grows, gathers and even cooks for us.
As we celebrate the season, what simple things are you grateful for? What if you let gratitude wash over you like a clean, hot shower?
Much love to you and yours this season. May it be filled with little moments of gratitude!