It was a long weekend here at the house. No, it wasn't a holiday weekend -- but it felt like there was an extra day shoved in there.
I started wondering WHY it felt so long to me. I mean, we had something to do every single day, so one would think that the days would fly by and the weekend would be over before we knew it. But that's not what happened.
Saturday night, I couldn't sleep at first. I had just gone out with a wonderful group of ladies for a "Mom's Night Out" kind of dinner, and so I would have thought that I would have been relaxed, in a good mood, ready for a quiet evening at home. Instead, I had come home to a family who had NOT had an easy, relaxing night (thanks to my husband's job and the 3 year old who decided to SCREAM all night, apparently), and the house was covered in a sense of "unsettledness" (for lack of a better word).
The mood was contagious, and I found myself unable to relax or enjoy the evening. As I sat and contemplated my environment at that moment, I had one of those "aha!" moments.
I think a few posts in the past have been leading up to this - I know I've written about hope, about Love, about the anger and bitterness I saw in so many of my peers - but at that moment on Saturday, one thought kept jumping out at me. One that tied all of those posts together:
We need to stop living for the "next best thing."
I realized that this whole weekend seemed to drag out because we were constantly waiting for our next "good" thing. Instead of looking around us and seeing the beauty that we were being completely surrounded by (little boy giggles, the blue sky, a full pantry, a good book to read, a friend to talk to, etc), we were counting down the moments until our "next best thing." Counting down the moments until our dinner out. Counting down the moments until Daddy could be home and not working. Counting down the moments until payday, when we could not worry about the checking account. Counting down the moments until our next "big vacation." Counting down the moments until something better was going to happen...it didn't matter what that something better was....as long as it was better than whatever we happened to be doing at that moment.
In reality, we were counting our lives away.
Goals are a good thing, most of the time. I mean, we all have goals that are good to work towards (completing a degree, getting caught up on housework, paying off debt, losing weight, hitting an exercise milestone, etc). Goals are good - they motivate and inspire, and when they are achieved, they affirm in a way that nothing else on this Earth really can. To accomplish a goal is an unbelievable morale booster, and that's great.
But when we become GOAL-oriented instead of TASK-oriented, we lose sight of the real purpose of setting goals.
If we focus only on the goal, or the next big event, or the next best thing......we miss out on the best gift ever given to us: our life.
It's easier said than done. It's so easy to focus on that end goal and just look at the actual tasks that accomplish that goal as a burden. It's so easy to focus on that graduation date...and view the studying and learning before that date as an obligation or a burden. It's so easy to allow those tasks to weigh us down, instead of let them do their job of building us up.
The beauty of the goal is in the TASKS that get you there. The true affirmation comes in the task - it is within the task that you grow, you learn, you achieve.
This goes for "real life," too. It's not the big job promotion that affirms you - - it's the daily work that you learn to accomplish in an exemplary manner. It's not the weight loss that affirms you - - it's the commitment, the dedication, the work ethic that becomes a part of you as you achieve that weight loss.
Each moment in our lives, we are given the greatest gift from God: we are given the opportunity to respond to His call and grow in virtue. We are given the opportunity to grow into the person that He intends us to be. Do we do that? Or, do we spend our entire day dreaming of that person that He wants us to be.....and end up missing the opportunity?
We are surrounded, every day, by examples of His love. The people in our lives, the beauty that surrounds us, even the struggles that we face are His way of writing us love letters. They are His way of showing us the beauty that He sees in us. He is singing us a love song, every single day of our lives....but are we listening?
Or are we waiting for the big concert finale?
Let's make a deal: as of today, we will stop counting down the minutes to the "next best thing," but instead...let's count the positives. I challenge you, right now, without taking time to think about a perfect answer, to leave a comment with FIVE good things/blessings in your life. Don't compose the best answer - - just rattle it right off.
What are FIVE good things in your life, right now? FIVE things right here in the now, not something that you are waiting for.....
I bet we can all do it. Do you?
O Jesus, if I but considered attentively your immense solicitude for me, how greatly should I not excel in every virtue? Pardon me, O Jesus, so much carelessness, pardon such great ignorance. My God, Jesus my Love, Increated Goodness, what would have become of me if you had not drawn me to yourself? Open your heart to me, open to me your sacramental breast; I open mine to you. -- St Gemma Galgani