Last year I wrote about being single, driving around at night near the holidays, peering into every home with the lights on and wondering what life was like at that dinner table. I dreamed that mothers were helping daughters figure out life and fathers were telling funny stories, that sisters were sharing shopping secrets and brothers were…what do boys talk about? I don’t know. I’ve never had one, except for my dog. He speaks two words: walk and bacon! (Well, actually he likes waffles even more than bacon.) Many of you I know would say the same of your brothers.
I don’t have to dream about being where the party is anymore because our house is the one with the lights on, the door open, the dog’s enthusiastic welcome as you walk up the steps that we just shoveled last night under the twinkle of the icicle lights. The smell of potatoes roasting with Vidalia onions fills our house, along with the familiar sounds of laughter with our three girls reunited. All this reminds me that the abundant life I was looking for in my 20s is mine now, but it always was. I was looking for something I already had. The twinkle light house with the fireplace ablaze is mine now because I imagined it and I created it.
The same Creator who gives good gifts to all of us doles out an infinite measure of goodness according to our faith. That word used to trip me up until someone gave me a bracelet decorated with mustard seeds and this has become my daily reminder that the abundant life I want is already mine. You’ve heard the story of the mustard seed, right? I’m a big fan of Jesus, who told a story about a group of people who brought him a boy that his disciples were unable to heal. He was frustrated that their faith was so small. “Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” When I see my mustard seeds, I remember that I am the only one in my life who determines what is possible.
The only thing between me and the happiness I want is to be present and accept that I already have it. If you are reading this and living still in the “not yet” then take a moment to close your eyes and imagine yourself inside the house with the lights on, with the fire ablaze, the kids laughing and the dog curled up on your lap. Imagine how the warmth of the fire feels and how you feel on the inside living inside this happiness. Now hold onto that image and live as if you already have it.
A teacher once told me, “All the life Jesus died for you to have is yours right now.” This is a good week to live in the gratitude that would come so easy if only… Gratitude is the signature on your mind that will take that image of abundance and bring it alive in full color.
So when the turkey takes longer that you expected and you have to keep the vegetables warm without overcooking them, be grateful.
When the meal is all set and your mother in law jumps up to make the gravy “really quick,” breathe in gratitude.
When you’ve finally finished washing the dishes and you’re ready to watch the first Christmas movie of the year, but they have the football game on, take a moment and take in the whole scene. Breathe in gratitude, grab a magazine and sit in front of the fire.
Everything you want is already yours. You just have to receive it.