For as long as I can remember, any family gathering at my Grandmother's house involved us gathering around and praying together before the meal. Regardless of the words said, someone would tear up, sniffle, or hug you a little closer. As a young child I thought it was funny, because I knew it was always coming, but now that I'm twenty-six, I understand what was happening. Life is complicated, and it's by grace that we were all standing there.
Holidays take a magnifying glass to the good and the bad in our lives, and as we've now passed the one all about "love," I figured I would share a few sobering reminders that apply to the rest of the holidays (and life), as well.
Beware of the highlight reel. No one posts the transcript of the arguments, the shipping email of the present that's arriving after the holiday, the pain of fragmenting in families, the dressing that was dry, the disappointment of absent loved ones. We all typically have positive leanings when we are campaigning for ourselves via social media, so it helps to remember that most other people are doing the same. Comparison is the thief of joy, Theodore Roosevelt once said.
It's just a day. My hope is not in any one day, and a holiday is a single day. Many of them have great purpose, but they don't have the final say for where our hope is. Too often the pressure of our expectations for what these days should look like often rob us of the joy they actually have to offer.
Pain today is perspective for tomorrow. I cherish a cold bottled water a hundred fold after a long run, rather than when I'm idle all day. Holidays that are tough make the good ones all the sweeter. I would never willingly ask for pain, but I never regret the perspective it results in.
I just watched a movie I'll leave unnamed because it wasn't all that good, but the closing scene was a reunited family toasting to happier times at a Thanksgiving feast--a simple reflection of a day that is coming. Restoration. Forever. In the meantime, holidays will come and go, and many will be awesome, while others simply won't be one for the books.
I remember a Valentine's Day I was single and playing at a run down venue on a rainy Tuesday night. There were seven people there, none of which were really listening. I remember asking myself, "What in the world am I doing?" It's actually quite hilarious in hindsight. Then there was this past weekend: a simple yet wonderful time with Lacie. We built a fort, cooked homemade pizzas, and watched a movie. I think we spent $19. How's that for a highlight reel?
So Happy President's Day! I think it's safe to say today's holiday is a little less emotionally charged. Go out and do whatever it is that people do on President's Day.