I was thinking today. It happened when I was folding laundry and the children were busy doing their school work. That left me with time to actually put some thoughts together.
I guess part of the context of today’s thoughts is that a woman in our church passed away this weekend. Her oldest son is in my Sunday School class and is my son’s age. She had another son who is my daughter’s age but has Down’s Syndrome, I believe.
The other part is my musing on our Christmas gifts and such. I bought our son a second hand guitar at the Thrift store, some new strings, pick, lesson book and case for his Christmas gift. I’m still not sure what to give our daughter but I have sewn 3 new nightgowns for her. These are kind of Christmas gifts, but really they are out of need.
The last contributing factor to my thoughts was our house. We live in a near to 100 year old house. I think it would have been considered fairly roomy when it was built. I know it was technically on the water front at the time and in a fairly trendy area of the city when it was built. And now, it is in an okay neighbourhood but definitely considered small by most.
I find I put a lot of pressure on myself. I know part of this comes from my upbringing. But when I look at our Christmas bush, I sometimes have a hard time being grateful for the blessings I do have. I want to give all sorts of wonderful Christmas things to my children. I thought about our house. I do love this house and company I have love it too. But there is a struggle because well, we’ve got basically one room to live in. There are a total of 7 rooms in this house, 3 of which are bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen, 1 porch (which is a 3 season room plus a heater), and our main room. It is a constant battle to keep from feeling a bit cluttered in this main room because well, its always in use!
And yet, there was a time when I do believe this was considered luxurious!
I got to thinking about how I’m going to try and have to be ready to teach my Sunday School class. About how in the past I’ve had to deal with questions from this student about why his mother isn’t getting better.
Then there was a certain amount of scolding because well, why couldn’t I just be happier with what I have? After all, even though I am sick with this chest infection, I am not dying and I’ve got so much to be greatful for!
It strikes me that being happy really is a choice. Its a choice about how you think, and what you think about. Its kind of like preparing a dish. If you add rotten ingredients, you can’t make a delicious meal. But if you start with excellent ingredients, at worst its still going to taste okay. The likelihood, however, is that you will end up with a really good dish.
Perhaps it is harder to be happy in today’s world. I certainly often feel like I have to defend my choices. And I have a whole world of knowledge and other people’s experiences to focus on. I’ve lost my neighbours and instead I focus on the lives of people I’ll likely never see. So I can make up all kinds of ideas and impressions about them.
Being happy is a choice to live those little moments as fully as you can. Today the children and I spent a good 2 hours shovelling snow. Our driveway isn’t that big, but we managed to find lots of snow to shovel. As my back whined at me, and I gasped for breath because of the lungs, I wanted to quit several times except for the fact that I didn’t really want to quit.
We kept at it and eventually people started walking home from their shift. The number of compliments that the children and I got from those passing by was very, very uplifting. We came inside beaming and had a great cup of Hot Chocolate.
Then my son proclaimed, “Mom, this IS the life!”
That’s being happy. Forgetting a bit more about the whole wide world and living up the details and smallness of my immediate world.