My mom is 86 years years old, so you’ll excuse her for having second thoughts about putting up their Christmas 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.
So she was all excited a week later when she called to announce that after much thought and discussion she and her helper had in fact put up her tree and now she was absolutely loving its presence in the living room. “It’s always so pretty” she sighed.
And then the dumb lights on the tree cut out.
“Oh no!” I cried.. “after all that ?” I confidently marched over to her place to diagnose and fix the problem..which I couldn’t. “Piece of crap” I mumbled more than once as I dug into the prickly branches..to which my mom said the following:
“Cindy, look at this tree, look at the way the sun from the window hits those white branches..it’s beautiful and the more I think about it, the more I actually love it-just the way it is..even without the lights working.”
“She’s right” I thought as I extricated myself from the tree’s itchy clutches, you could almost argue that the silly thing looked even prettier without being so bright.
And maybe that’s how gratitude works.. it opens our hearts and our minds and all of our senses so we can reevaluate, rediscover and freshly acknowledge the blessings that are right in front of us -right now.
Gratitude doesn’t actually fix things or people or circumstances or trees with no lights, it simply changes the way we interpret imperfection and allows us to joyfully embrace life as it is, not life as we would rather have it.