When your tree isn't ready for Pinterest
Life never seems to follow the picture I create in my mind, but then I'm a bit of a dreamer. I get lost in the imaginings of perfect scenarios, those happy Norman Rockwell paintings. Every year I hope for a heavy snow to fall on Christmas just to feel the slowness of a day that keeps you right where you are. It stretches its cozy arms around while the fireplace pops and hisses, all while we sip that frothy, rich cocoa as white lights of the tree throw shadows on our faces.
This has never happened anywhere but in my vague imaginings, and yet some version of it finds me hopefully wishing. Tis the season?
We erected the Christmas tree this week. My children, all together in their joy, pulled tokens of preceding years from these intimate boxes. It was furious excitement all about the room as the carols whirled happy tunes in and out of the background.
Divine restraint kept my hands away from the heavily decorated base of the tree. I stood away from those twinkling lights, away from the tree that would never be Pinterest worthy. Something inside of me was tugging; it was yanking the joyful moment from my hands. I searched inside to give a name to the thief, and I found it.
It was Dissatisfaction.
I was ashamed of the thoughts that were fighting in my head. I know that life isn't about perfect moments that I have created. Life is about receiving the gifts of the present and offering thanks to the Giver. And joy is found when we are grateful, no matter the circumstances.
I forgot to remember.
I see their eyes, how delighted they are by the sight. Pieces of their life are hanging on the arms of evergreen. The faithful branches hold tenderly the memories of all imperfect Christmas' passed. I see how the top branches are waiting patiently for little arms to grow within their reach.
I smile at the unbalanced tree. It's a lot like me. . . unfinished.