Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The List...

December 2nd...though for most of the morning I thought it was the 4th and as a result was feeling two more days behind than I needed to. I made out a list of things earlier when I was 4 days behind instead of just two and item after item found its way to my clean white page. As time for school approached, I laid my pen down and took a deep breath and turned my back on the list.

Between subjects and students I gave my list a passing glance which might communicate to anyone watching me that I cared little for the tasks that awaited me. My heart, however, was feeling the weight of each letter of each item on my list and I was getting more and more wound by the minute...because of the date on the calendar...the wrong date at that.

My wreath wasn't yet on the door. My tree, though standing, is yet unlit. I've more to do outside, lest the neighbors think we aren't celebrating at all and please, don't talk to me about Christmas cards. I received the first one in the mail the day before Thanksgiving and began having thoughts about the energetic and ultra organized maniac who had sent that card so early only to open it and find that my 93 year old grandmother was the culprit! {She's crazy good with birthday cards too.}

Pinterest and Instagram whisper to my soul that all the "other moms" have their trees up AND their mantels decorated and they've probably got all those adorable monogrammed stockings filled by this time too and there are pictures of scrumptious Christmas cookies and Advent celebrations that will cause a person to tear up a bit as they scroll quickly through because really WHO HAS TIME to make a perfect Christmas for her family if she is too paralyzed by the perfection that others are posting!?

On my list was a run and you can believe I took off and ran and ran and ran and while Christmas music played in my ears I came to my senses (as much as I am able to with the limited sense I've been given) and began to breathe deeply enough for the Christmas-sized knot in my insides to loosen significantly.

Yes, December is going to go quickly. Yes, you are a few days behind where you'd like to be when it comes to your list. Yes, there is a lot to do. Self, not one thing must be perfect. Not one thing NEEDS to be perfect. 

I ran back home with regained peace and a promise to myself not to get overwhelmed again and I did a great job keeping my promise until my Kate, the able-bodied worker bee around these parts approached me with a familiar-looking white paper in her hand...

"Mom, it doesn't look like you are making very good progress on your list today...Where are the lights, I'm sure I can get that tree lit if you'll...."

"Kate," I said taking a deep cleansing breath, "would you rather have dinner or lights on the tree? Cause I can't get dinner ready and get the lights for you." She thought long and then decided dinner would be necessary and left only to circle back in 30 minutes to see what else she could do about my list because now it seemed to be plaguing her.

Stress is contagious especially amongst those we love. It's NOT the gift I intend to share with those around me this season especially as we prepare to celebrate the Prince of Peace...

Stress is a thief who steals from us our enjoyment of today's moments while it keeps our chins in its vicious grasp, constantly turning our heads toward tomorrow's what ifs and shoulds.

Stress is a rude Christmas guest. Don't invite it in. In hard to keep your door closed against it...whether it has a wreath on it or not!

"Sometimes it seems your ever-increasing list of things to do can leave you feeling totally undone."
~Susan Mitchell and Catherine Christie, I'd Kill for a Cookie

"Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency."  
~Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind

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