My mom is 86 years years old, so you’ll excuse her for having second thoughts about putting up their tree this year. “I’m just not so sure I want to deal with the hassle” she explained to us this Thanksgiving, to which I answered that it was certainly her prerogative to pass on all the fuss. “Mom, you don’t have to justify anything to anyone” I reassured, “do what you want!”
So she was all excited a week later when she called to tell me that after much thought and discussion she had in fact put up her tree and was loving its presence in the living room. “It’s always so pretty” she sighed.
We got down to Florida a few days ago and when I walked into my parent’s house my mom announced, “Well, the lights aren’t working on the tree.” “Oh no!” I cried out.. “after all that ?” I confidently marched over to diagnose and fix the problem..which I couldn’t.
“Piece of crap” I mumbled more than once..to which my mom said the following:
“Cindy, look at this tree, the way the sun from the window hits those white branches..it’s beautiful and I actually love it the way it is..even without the lights working.”
“She’s right” I thought as I stood back to take it in, you could almost argue that the tree looked even prettier without being so bright..and did I mention my mother can barely see with macular degeneration?
And maybe that’s how gratitude works.. it opens our hearts and our minds and all of our senses so we can reevaluate, discover and acknowledge the blessings that are right in front of us -right now.
Gratitude transforms imperfect trees, imperfect food, imperfect gifts, imperfect people.. or no, maybe that’s really not true.. Gratitude doesn’t actually fix things, it transforms the way we interpret imperfection and allows us to deeply, profoundly, totally and joyfully embrace life as it is..not life as we would rather have it.
Don’t exhaust yourself trying to create the “perfect Christmas.” Share the love that spills from an open heart filled with gratitude instead.