So the last 12 months – the days, the weeks, the months of 2014 have had their share of high highs and very low lows. I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought I would. I’ve learned more about the friends and family that surround me than I ever knew before. Life has a way of bringing perspective to things we never viewed “this way” – perspectives that is both good, a little thought provoking and life-altering!
Typically Christmas and gift-giving are high on my “brings me much joy” list – but this year felt so different. I don’t know if walking through a journey of loss brings a difference in perspective, or really want it is – but this December, the thought of pulling together great gifts, fun ideas, shopping or even trying to make something to show how much I appreciate all those in my life felt like walking through tar. I dreaded shopping. I dreaded even thinking of who “should” get a gift or thinking of who might get me something and therefore I should return the favor. The buying the gifts wasn’t really the problem… It wasn’t about the money – I just felt the lack of excitement and the very thought of gift-giving was exhausting and daunting.
My sister and I recently spent a few hours going through some of my Mom’s things. Even though it’s been 10 months since she’s been gone, I looked at the clothes, the jewelry, the things she wore and touched everyday and really what was left? She wasn’t those things. Yes, there were memories for us of moments when she wore a certain outfit and remembering where a piece of jewelry came from – threads and fibers and crafted metals – we’re just that, fibers, material and metals. She wasn’t there. The stuff wasn’t even truly the thing of emotion or even her.
It’s so common to hear around Christmas phrases of, “remembering the real meaning of Christmas” and “Jesus is the reason for the season”… And that is all true. We give gifts to each other because it’s a tangible reminder (or supposed to be) that God GAVE to us…. Gift-giving is that reminder to each of us of love, forgiveness and ultimately life, should we choose it. But more than that – the gift we’ve been given is relationship!
I realized the last weeks of stressing over what to buy all melted away a few days ago when I had that perspective shift. Stuff is so temporary. Yes it brings joy and excitement – but in the end – when that person, the giver or the givee, is gone the stuff remains, but the things held more dearly – the things that are most meaningful are the memories of time spent, conversations had and just being together!
The older I get, and the more life hands me, I’ve found that time spent with people is the most valuable and most meaningful thing I possess. Things are lost, broken or stolen – but time with people is quickly becoming the best gift I am given! Memories are made, treasured and held onto way longer than any thing someone hands me with pretty packaging!
Speaking of time… The next 10 days of my life will be spent with the 7 most important people in my life, family! There will be fun moments, laughter, probably some tears, but Christmas and New Years in Orlando will be something to be treasured – memories made!