It was a cold morning one day last week. The house was quiet.
I sat in the kitchen, by a big window that overlooks my backyard and I enjoyed the soft colors of the autumn sunlight. I slowly inhaled the sweet fragrance of the apples that I keep in a bowl on the table and closed my eyes.
A little box of Nerds – leftover Halloween candy – caught my attention and brought back the memory of my little toddlers’ fingers reaching in for the tiny little pieces of sour candy.
I felt the familiar ache that shows up when I think of all that’s in the past that can never be again. The natural grief for moments we wish would last forever and yet we know they could not. The grief that is there because we care and love deeply.
I reached for my diary, but instead of writing, I flipped through its pages – only a few blank ones remained. I remembered when I bought it three years ago. It was a thick notebook, one I anticipated filling with good stuff, with daring new projects and records of courage and growth. I never could have imagined what life would have brought to me by the end of its pages.
I read a few of my entries. No matter how hard things got, I took each situation – including the fear and pain it came with – straight on. I didn’t numb or distract from it, I didn’t try to hold onto it in hopes that it would all disappear, and I didn’t get stuck in it.
That in and of itself helped me through the hardest of times.
Sometimes it’s not about what we do when life doesn’t go the way we hoped it would. It’s about what we don’t do. It’s how we don’t add to our struggles, and how we don’t stay in the way of healing. It’s how we are willing to let go and move onward, willingly accepting and embracing every small gift Life has for us each day. Like the fragrance of apples, or the tiny opened box of Nerds. Or a song that plays on the radio exactly at the time when you needed to hear it.
Here’s another story about how the small ‘gifts’ of life helped me transform…
Three years ago, I was struggling – professionally, personally and financially.
I didn’t have enough work to bring the income we needed, Matthew and I had huge disagreements and were falling apart, and the holidays were coming. I decided to give myself an “Advent Calendar” and each day write about a different Gift that I already had in my life. I shared them with a small group of people and by Christmas I had a collection of 25 Gifts.
I had also experienced the transformational power of gratitude. No I didn’t make six figures by the end of it or fixed our struggles, but what changed was me – and how I reacted to all that was going on around me. In a way, that was my Christmas miracle. One that would give me strength to face all that was to come.
I don’t want to try to talk you into getting 25 Gifts for Christmas
, or write an elaborate marketing strategy that will make you buy it. But I do want to encourage you to check it out – because it really is a wonderful little book with daily reflections that can help shift your focus 🙂
Well, I just got through a challenging week and I went to pick up my son Dante from college! I see Matthew’s spirit in my sons’ courage, independence, compassion and love they feel for others. And that’s a gift too… a big one!