This post is authored by Carla Anderson, from the E&I, Inc team.
Here we are, November 12th, 2021. I have never given as much thought to the adage “time flies” as I have recently, but the truth in those two words is profound.
Just yesterday, I was raking leaves in the backyard as my boys helped, only because they knew that as soon as we got it into a big pile, they would jump in! Their mischievous eyes and big smiles as the leaves we had just worked so hard to rake up went flying everywhere. At first, I would get after them, but their giggles and antics would soften my disdain, and I would always relent to their play. Of course, that wasn’t just yesterday; it was more than two decades ago.
I find that I am entering into this awkward stage of my life. My family needs me less and less, and my career has shifted, and the challenge is exciting. I am also alive with creative ideas and hopeful desires to achieve “more.” It is a restlessness that has always lived within me and which, at times, lead me astray. Reigning in creative desires is complex, and I now realize why my mother started things, only to leave them unfinished while she went on to another project. My husband is slightly concerned about the state of our own home as I am channeling my mothers’ spirit of late (yikes!).
I can’t be alone in my restless creativity, right? Tell me you do this to.
This time of year always finds me a little wistful and nostalgic. It is the time of year when we remember the best and the worst of times. It is also the time of year when we look deep into our hearts to find joyful purpose. It is a time to acknowledge those around us, and it is the time of year when we remember those that have gone before us. November brings with it hopefulness for new beginnings and peaceful closings. More than all of that, November ushers in the holidays with a promise of thankfulness.
Thankfulness-let’s talk about that.
It is easy to compare what we have to others around us. Social media surrounds and engulfs us daily. People share the best of their lives, their children, homes, material items, and themselves. We see the pretty and the polished. We see the granite countertops, the Persian rugs, and the beautiful and bountiful pantries organized to perfection.
I look upon my own home, and I see all that I have to update; it is overwhelming. It brings an anxiousness to my restlessness, and my mind is rarely at rest. Some of this is because I realize that time is fleeting, and I am panicking. I also recognize that this is ridiculous, but peri-menopausal hormones and ADD do not seem to mix well.
A few weeks back, I spent the day with my wonderful mom-in-law. I sat and listened as she shared her life, her stories, and her wisdom. She is the antonym to all that I stated above. Her home, middle-class and comfortable, was something she treasured. The items in her home, both decorative and functional, were used to their fullest before being replaced. I loved coming home, to their home; it was my second home. It became a refuge to me amidst the chaos that often awaited me at my parents’ home. I never noticed if their home was keeping pace with the Jones’ because it didn’t matter. It was home.
My heart is full for this wonderful lady.
She is also at a point in her life that is awkward. Her mind is strong, humor present, and wit unrestrained, but her body is betraying her. I think of her often, and I am learning to look around me and be thankful for my laminate countertops, flat-paneled doors, and (disdainful) carpet because we are so fortunate to have achieved all that we do have.
Madeline has spent so much of her life setting an example of all that is good. It is hard not to acknowledge her and the many lessons she has taught by her action. It is difficult not to look around me and be thankful for all I have and the people who fill my life.
I am so very grateful for her.
I think of her now, and I am reminded of both the fragility and finality of life. As she enters this awkward time in her life where she waits upon eternities’ doorstep, she continues to set an example—her love for God, her children, their children, and so on continues to guide her journey.
And so I again find myself taking a cue from this magnificent lady; embrace all my gifts- the people, the things, and the present.
“There is a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.””-Unknown