Sitting here on the balcony of my messy, cozy apartment, surrounded by gifts from students and colleagues, and just finishing a 4 mile run after being the opposite of diligent with my half month training, I’m struck with the realization: IT’S WINTER BREAK. And, I have a lot to be thankful for.
It’s been a weird last few weeks before break, feeling both excited about the halfway mark, dissatisfied in my progress at work and various systems that surround me, and a sense of uneasiness that can’t quite be pinpointed. It’s been hard to feel thankful, nevertheless joyful.
But, today. Today is a new day, and I instantly feel revitalized at the fact that I get to take a mental, physical, and emotional break from work and feel more like a human again.
I am thankful for the mess in my apartment. Because it reminds me of a lot of things:
- It includes gifts for loved ones and gifts from those showing appreciation and letting me know my efforts are being seen. Sweet notes from people I work with, a terrarium so beautiful I just don’t even know what to say, and gifts too generous I can barely accept. My job might feel like it sucks some days, but that is not the truth. The truth is that my work each day has eternal impact that can’t be quantified or measured, and on most days, seen. The mess of gifts and wrapping received reminds me that the work I do each day is seen and appreciated, and that I am loved by the ones I am gifting to.
- It includes piles of unfolded clothes, still recovering from not being unpacked properly from my latest trips. This is so clearly a problem of the privilege, that it’s embarrassing to complain about, but quite frankly it’s so overwhelming I can’t even begin to organize it. This reminds me of the blessing of friendship, family, and the memories made on any trip taken.
- It includes my socks and scarves carelessly strewn on the ground, dishes left undone in the sink. It’s not Josh’s things, it’s mine (mostly). He is endlessly understanding of my stress and exhaustion each day and puts up with way more than is even humanly fair. Yet, he serves without complaint and gives me my space and time to do my share when I can. This mess of everyday things like clothes and undone dishes reminds me that my husband is way too wonderful and graceful of a partner than I deserve.
I ran through the past few weeks overwhelmed by my to-do list, overwhelmed at every corner of clutter that seemed to enclose on me. But, maybe a mess is okay sometimes. This type of mess reminds me of the blessings in my life that I don’t deserve, but have been given so graciously. It can’t help but point me to this advent season as I think about the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, and the ways that maybe the world was a mess and not ready, but Jesus came anyway. What beauty.
How have your weeks been leading up to Christmas and this holiday season? Overwhelming? Stressful? Peaceful? Fun?