Thankful, Even in This Season (Day 24)

I pick up my four-year-old’s Minnie Mouse balled-up sock from the bedroom floor for what feels like the one millionth time.  As I uncurl the toe and fling it into the laundry basket, mere feet away, I shake my head.  How is it possible that small humans make such a big mess?  And how is it that they do this every day?  

When I start to get in this lovely frame of mind toward my kiddos, I want to remind myself of what my wise friend Carrie once said, “Each new phase with my kids is my favorite.”  Instead of hopefully looking ahead to a time without diapers or sentimentally back, trying to keep her kids from ever growing up, her aim is to enjoy them just as they are in the present season of life.   

But maybe you’re in a season that has you marking off days on the calendar, like some enormous Jell-O fluff salad that you have to push yourself through to just survive.  Been there.  Done that.  And it is not easy to keep perspective when your current reality seems like a prison you want to escape.  So what can we do?

One idea comes from an article I read where the author described her mother as a textile artist.  As I read along, a lightbulb came on as I thought, oh she’s a quilter. . . like my mom.  In all the years of machines whirring and fabrics snipping, I’d never thought of it that way.  Textile artist sounded different, like I’d been looking at something my whole life never really seeing it.  

It wasn’t that I hadn’t appreciated my mom’s quilting, but simply labeling it in a new way opened something up.  Because of this (and mom’s generosity), we now have a quilt hanging in our dining room.  I adore it.  I’d been in looking a piece of “art” for that wall for so long, never finding the right thing.  Who knew the perfect piece was in our house the whole time?  

Sometimes we’re so close to the amazing stuff we don’t realize it’s amazing.

So how are you labeling this season?  Are you always looking forward. . . once I have that baby, once I get married, once I get the promotion, once the flowers start blooming again, once I finish my degree. . . The truth is we will never arrive.  Life is change.  Life is growth.  So what would it look like to simply live this season and say thanks–even for this?  This house.  This job (or lack thereof).  This age of kids in my family.  This season of grief or pain.  This empty nest.  

This one millionth balled-up sock on the floor.

What would it look like to see this season in its best light and label it that way in my thoughts?  Not just a quilter, but a textile artist.  Not pre-school chaos, but two little explorers filled with wonder.  And yes in every season there is a version of the mess, but it’s easier to pick up that sock realizing that someday the hamper and so many things will be emptier.  

And it’s not a simply sentimental “You’re gonna miss this,” type of thing, but a deep knowing that for now, this balled up sock and the toys strewn around are good, just where they need to be, right here, right now.  In this amazing time to say thanks for all the gifts hiding right in front of our eyes.

by Holly Steffens
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