Today was full of delights.
Small moments to treasure had been happening all day, but I didn't stop to take an inventory of them as they were happening. It wasn't until I was listening to Andy and Jack and Joey laugh in the bathroom as they all took a bath together that I discovered that today was a good day.
As I was listening to them, I finished putting away the trappings of Christmas.
I tucked a luxury chocolate bar into my underwear drawer for the next sweet-tooth emergency. Isn't it nice to know that you have something scrumptious to indulge in on a day when you really need it?
I also cleared of my dresser, which so quickly collects clutter and lit a few candles. On top of my dresser I carefully placed my beautiful Christmas gift.
A several months ago I went shopping with a few girls with the express purpose of admiring beautiful things and celebrating our homes. Most of us have a tight budget, so we planned on finding something small that we could take home that would remind us that the tasks of our simple lives matter and that looking for beauty in the mist of those things is not only okay, but necessary.
We wandered the paths of Pier 1 and talked and laughed and each gravitated toward the sections of the store that might hold what we were after.
As I strolled my eye caught a beautiful lamp. I am not sure why it was so overwhelming to me, but the moment I saw it, tears came to my eyes. I know that is SO cheesy, but it is true. I've been living a long season where beauty feels hard to come by. I've felt outnumbered by people who love facts and reality and who have trouble seeing the value in the frivolous. In that company I've tried to think like I imagine they do. But I'm not built that way. I wasn't created that way. In trying to force myself into that kind of living, I've become disjointed, depressed and unable to find any footing that feels solid. Something about that lamp reminded me how important the lovely aspects of life are.
Not having a home of my own, while the lamp reminded me of the importance of beauty it also pressed on the tender part of my heart that believed that for now, my life - including beauty, is on hold. I so longed to claim the beauty of that lamp for my own and declare that beauty matters NOW, but I was still intimidated to say, out loud, that I need beauty for its own sake.
But I did say it. I told Andy that even if it sat in a box until we moved into our own space, I wanted to have it. I wanted to know that there was something to look forward to, even if it was just putting a lightbulb into a lamp.
So, like the wonderful husband he is, Andy bought me the lamp. It couldn't matter less to him what provides light to our home, but he is pretty smart about knowing when something matters to me. So even though he thought it was over-priced and not terribly sensational, yesterday morning I received a large box, with my reminder of beauty inside.
My original plan really was to just tuck it away. To hid it until everything in my life was just perfect. But that wasn't right. Didn't I just say that beauty matters now? If I keep putting it off and pretending like I can live without it, soon I won't recognize it when I see it. So I pulled it out. I put it together. And I remembered that life is good and that beauty is essential.
In the same way that I have suddenly realized that I need to actively invite beauty into my life, I recognized that creating is equally important. For me, to admire beauty is only half of the equation, creating it is the other.
So today I went and bought a canvas. When we moved I put all of my paints into storage but tomorrow I will be retrieving them.
I'm not sure what I will end up painting, but it will probably be purple. I'm really into eggplant these days.
And now, I'm sitting at the computer, watching the Biggest Loser finale and admiring a tiny box of Grey Salt Caramels that one of Andy's customers sent home for me. A woman I've never met. She was asking Andy about himself and after hearing his story she tied a bow on a tiny box and told him to take it home to his wife with a "bravo" and the encouragement that mothering is an important job.
Can I please be a woman like that?
It really was a good day. And tomorrow, when I wake up, expecting another morning of brain-fog and the familiar struggle of finding my footing an a season that has previously looked dreary, I will see my lamp, a true symbol of light in the dark and beauty in the ashes, and remember that there is hope.
And that beauty matters.