We are moving this week, just three blocks away from where we currently live, but all moves feel like cross-county moves. We have been packing up and living off paper plates for a month, just long enough to feel like our entire lives have been torn into little pieces of paper and thrown into the air while we wait to see how the confetti changes the look of our landscape.
If I am being honest, I have been wishing the days away this past month, saying things like, “when we get into the new house” or, “when we are settled.” I have been more concerned with ‘when our future happens,’ then what is happening right in front of me.
I blame this wishing-the-day-away on the small, nagging lostness I carry around deep inside. It’s my dazed drifting leaving me wild and grasping for a feeling of being settled,wanting all of the details of my life to make sense and believing the next step will finally bring some sense of having it all together.But the truth is, we will move into our new house, and I will be tempted to wish away the days until we are unpacked, or until some other exciting opportunity is on the horizon.
Do you ever find yourself wishing the day away?
When my kids were really little I remember waking up some mornings and being so tired I was already looking forward to nap time. Or there were seasons when I thought life would be easier when we didn’t have to buy diapers or when everyone could feed themselves.
I believe this practice sunburns our souls. It has made us uncomfortable in our own skin,chronically anxious about time, desperately striving to create a meaningful, purposeful, joy-filled life when the truth is, most of us already have the exact thing we have been wishing for. We just have forgotten to notice it.
What I am learning very slowly, and with a lot of fumbling steps, is it is too easy to wish away days in anticipation of some future event that never satisfies. Rather, it is the people beside us and the view before us, and the ground beneath our feet that is the really good, soul-satisfying stuff. It seems to me part of being human is learning how to celebrate the occasionally uncomfortable, but mostly beautiful moments, happening to us right this very moment.
Last week I pulled The A-team together for a family meeting. I admitted this whole moving thing had me feeling unsettled which meant I had forgot to enjoy the process. So we decided we were going to celebrate the uncomfortable parts of moving, the parts that are messy and beautiful and filled with moving boxes and paper plates.
On Sunday, we gave away a bunch of stuff to people who needed it more than we do. With three kids in tow, we took dishes and household goods and extra bikes to a shelter for abused women. Afterward we toasted with milkshakes to making other people’s lives just a little bit easier.
On Wednesday, when beds were disassembled, we held a family campout in our backyard complete with a tent, bonfire and s’mores. You would have thought we spent the night at Disneyland with how much the kids enjoyed themselves.
Friday, after most of our furniture was at our new place, we brought out a disco ball and invited all of the neighborhood kids over to our old house for a dance party. We pushed the remaining boxes to the side and twenty-one kids danced their hearts out in our empty family room. One of my kids found some confetti bombs that were stored away in a craft box and as lots of little feet busted a move, confetti burst into the air, and we all watched in wonder as the pieces fell gently to the ground. Little pieces of colorful paper covered the wood floor. The moment felt so beautiful I could barely contain my tears of joy. All the pieces that didn’t make sense suddenly were so beautiful it no longer mattered our life felt like confetti.
Deciding to celebrate even when life felt unsettled, gifted us with memories and moments that had us all forgetting we were supposed to be thinking about getting settled in a new home. See, once we realized how our right now is good, we were freed to have more fun.
Sometimes I forget to live this way. Sometimes celebrating takes a little more effort, but as far as I can tell it is always worth it. This is why I bought flowers for the people who were moving into our old home. We included our wishes for the family getting ready to inhabit the space we had enjoyed the past two years. Because living with a posture of celebration invites everyone around us to do the same.
Could it be this is our time to celebrate? Instead of wishing the days away, maybe this is our opportunity to have more fun and to find holy moments with the people right in front of us. Maybe now is the time to get on with our really spectacular life happening right this very minute. May we all grab some confetti, and rather than worrying about how life should be, may we celebrate what it is, in all of its unsettled glory.
This originally appeared in Hello, Dearest Fall 2015. If you didn’t get a copy and would like your own, you can subscribe to get Hello, Dearest in your mailbox every season. If you subscribe, forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll shoot a copy of the current issue in the mail to you for free … just because we like you.
Mandy has three kids, two dogs and married her husband in spite of the fact that he used the cheesiest pickup line ever to ask her out. Mandy loves to travel and wanderlust is her middle name (not really, it is Jan), but her favorite place in all the world is snuggled on the couch between her kiddos. She and her husband recently moved from Southern California to Denver so that their kids could learn how to make snow angels and because they believe in adventures. Stop by her house and there are sure to be dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor and chocolate in the pantry. Share in her adventures atmandyarioto.com.