After the magic, Monday always shows her plain face and I struggle right up and out of bed to say a reluctant good morning. After the fireworks and finery of a weekend spent pressing toward the glow, the stark reality of a yard littered in bits of colored paper and a husband back at work start me off on the wrong foot.
The dishes in the sink greet me in the kitchen, thanks to my yesterday-self who thoughtlessly left them to future me. I grit my teeth and the kids, overtired from a long weekend of late night bedtimes and junk food, clamor around me in loud chaos.
And I yearn for it.
To live in the center of the celebration. To spend day after day stretched out in the sunshine with no worries, no cares, no struggles, no stress. For every day to be light and easy. For each night to be made up of sparklers and fireflies and little voices calling out to one another.
Reality smacks hard when that's what your heart wants. I'm not sure I ever stop hoping for smooth and easy days. I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied with the grind. But hanging your heart on happiness will only ever result in disenchantment. Placing all your eggs in the basket of self satisfaction only results in an empty feeling deep inside.
Thirty years I've been at this, and I'm still learning this lesson. Shiny things tarnish and lights go out, but hanging your hopes and dreams on the Source of all goodness will never let you down. The One who weaves all things together, yes even the tough mornings and mayhem of our chaotic days, into something beautiful and blessed.
He asked me over the weekend, in a moment when discontent seized me and I had nothing good to say, to name a few things. Just a handful of graces. Something to hold onto, a touchstone for the hard moments. I rolled my eyes dramatically but then actually thought for one moment. And started naming. And counting. And soon - perspective followed.
Gratitude isn't the hard becoming suddenly easy. The hard things are always going to be hard. Gratitude shields your heart from the difficult with the reassuring knowledge that God is always good and you are always loved.
It's been thirty years and I still need reminding. On this Monday morning? I remember.
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