Sunday, December 6, 2015

The List of Adding Down-Especially At Christmastime

Last week, I was busy counting all the things that weren't ok, that I wasn't happy with in my life, the things that I simply wish were different. Boy was I adding them up, or "down" rather. A lot of things have been building and adding up in more ways than one, which is probably the reason for the silence around these parts. But today, I just wanted to chat about the things that I was ruminating over.

The things can really add up, or they can add "down" if that even makes sense. If we take the time to see, we'll realize and have the opportunity to re-adjust a bit, and start counting and adding the things that really matter. Cuz those things we count down, they just don't so much (they matter but they don't have to consume us). When we take the time to add up, and collect the things that are right, that we do have, that ends up filling us up, and in turn, we aren't so deflated, defeated and miserable. But we gotta count, we gotta add em' up. We actually have to do something.

Not just at Christmas time but at most times in our lives, there is a list. The list of all we wish was different, the list of all that is wrong, the list of all the things and people we mourn. Life hurts. It's hard. It's broken, and fragile. At best, we can see the things we have if we get our heads out of the gutter, and take a look, at very best, we can do it with a small smile and a tad bit of grace. Because let's be honest, there's always a diagnosis, there's always a pain, there's always a break-up, there's always an addiction, there's always self-loathing, there's always a job loss, pay cut, divorce, dead-beat dad, unpaid bills, undreamed hopes and dreams, weight gained, tears shed, fists lifted, eyes shedding, hearts beaten, bodies sick, and guns a firing. It just doesn't stop.

But can we choose to look at things that are there, and maybe ever so quietly they exist and they are gifts? Can I choose that? I did this week, when my list that was adding down, was drowning me.

We all have the ability to look, to see (whether your eyesight works or not). We all have the ability to change our minds. We all have the ability to notice something that we hadn't before. What is that for you? What is that for me?

Sometimes it's a matter of loosening our grip, and allowing for something new to happen, for something different to bloom, even if it's not what we wanted, or imagined. It comes in the strangest ways. But ends up being beautiful, if we take the time to see.

Last week, a few of the things on my "adding down" list were: missing my daughter and wanting her in California with me, not having any ornaments or stockings (I couldn't fit them in the PODS when we were moving across the country), not being apart of my christmas traditions that I hold so dear, like shopping with friends, or going to a cookie bake, or even a christmas party. Not having a car and the toll it's taking on me, and finding out something new about my health that is scary to me. But I think I'll stop there, because again, the list of adding down is long. If I let it be. But I'm working on adding up.

Yesterday we, in the most non-traditional sense got a Christmas tree! We did it without a car, my husband walked the tree home for over a mile! How strange to get a tree with no snow, no boots, no Columbia coat, no hat and mittens, and NO cold weather! The trees were super expensive and we had to get a short one because of our tiny apartment. But I say all that to say this: I chose to SEE something! The hilariousness of my lumberjack hubby hauling our tree on his shoulder up to our apartment after a mile of walking. Actually NOT freezing, and screaming and complaining of not being able to feel my toes as I usually do when we are picking out a tree. The fact that the guy that took our photo at the tree farm, did a selfie before he took a pic of my husband and I (oh yes he did). Sure the tree we got looks like an animal of some sort attacked it, (I'm not kidding you, it's like missing half it's branches, we should have qualified for a discount), it's totally lopsided, and it's bare, except for some lights we picked up at Walgreens. These, because I choose to see, are new memories. They might not be what I ever imagined or envisioned, and not exactly how I want it, but it's something I can "add up" on my list, as a gift, as a classic memory that goes down in history in the Norman books.
christmas tree guys selfie 

The other thing I addressed on my list of adding "down" was my daughter not being here. But guess what?! I get to be with her for over a month and for her 21st birthday! She's coming to California this week. Now if that is not a blessing, I don't know what is! Seeing it in this light, let's me add up on my list instead of down, and I re-adjust my seeing; I appreciate what I will have when she's here. I've spent a few days adding up up and up, and my adding down list has become so small I can hardly read it.

Whatever your list of "adding down" is, what can you "add up"? The lists matter, because they help us to see better. 


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