- The smell of pine in our living room.
- Christmas break in 4 (work) days.
- A husband who faithfully does the dishes.
“Once we make the connection between vulnerability and joy, the answer is pretty straightforward; We’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to get blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off-guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment. For those of us who rehearse tragedy, there’s a reason those images flood into our mind the second we’re overwhelmed with joy. When we spend our lives (knowingly or unknowingly) pushing away vulnerability, we can’t hold space open for the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure of joy.”
Eating out was a big deal in my family. My dad worked the evening shift so it was just my mom, sister, and I for weeknight dinners. Even though my mom worked full time she would make dinner at home, around the table every weeknight. Even if it was tuna noodle casserole. Again.
I can vividly remember one of the rare weeknight splurges. We were out later than usual – hanging around with mom at work while she finished up when it was decided that we would pick up food on our way home that night.
My sister and I had differing opinions. I preferred Taco Bell, she wanted a local burger place. I was so excited at the thought of going to Taco Bell that I left the most obnoxious phone message on our answering machine at home revealing my excitement. I couldn’t help it! This was a big deal and I was ready to celebrate.
Although in my mind it was a done deal we did not end up at Taco Bell. Lamenting the whole way home (I’m sure) we ended up at the burger joint.
And when we got home, I hid behind my bed in my room, mortified as they played the phone messages knowing that my overly-excited message would play next.
I was embarrassed.
I had let myself get my hopes up and when it didn’t happen I was crushed.
And for whatever reason, that memory claws its way out when exciting things might happen.
I leave the exclamation point off of events in my calendar just in case things don’t quite work out.
I don’t want to be the girl crossing it off later thinking, “Why did I let myself get so giddy about this? That’s so dumb.”
This happens with little things. And it’s laughable.
Not eating where you want to eat as a ten year old and pouting about it is not really that abnormal.
But I’ve realized that in some ways it’s almost a symptom of a deeper problem.
A vulnerability problem.
I don’t want to be the girl hiding from embarrassment that she was too excited.
I’d rather shake my excitement off.
Pretending to not be.
So that in the end, if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be embarrassed.
There have been a lot of times in my life where life was good.
And I worried.
When will the other shoe drop?
What’s going to happen to my family or to my security or to myself?
This is too good.
And you know what?
I was right.
The other shoe dropped.
And then ten more dropped.
I lost things I wasn’t even preparing myself to lose.
So in my mind I had every right to worry.
I was preparing myself to feel grief.
I was trying to beat vulnerability to the punch.
There’s something deep inside of me that doesn’t like being vulnerable.
So I’m writing a few things with exclamation points.
Letting myself feel joy even when I might be disappointed in the end.
And mostly I’m dwelling on gratitude instead of rehearsing tragedy.
Someone I love says it like this, “Life is full of possibilities, not limitations.”
My mornings with these four have been so sweet.
Plenty of time outside in the sunshine and cool fall-like breezes.
Science experiments and practicing turn-taking.
The good stuff.
“We’re afraid to lose what we love the most, and we hate that there are no guarantees. We think that not being grateful and not feeling joy will make it hurt less. We think if we can beat vulnerability to the punch by imagining loss, we’ll suffer less. We’re wrong. There is one guarantee: If we’re not practicing gratitude and allowing ourselves to know joy, we are missing out on two things that will actually sustain us during the inevitable hard times.” (Yes.)
Road trips bring out the best in us, musically.
What kind of person is it that loves routine but not too much so every two weeks or so I need something to completely wreck my routine so I go back to loving it?
I’m guessing it’s the same type of person that still uses a day planner and asked for a PDA for Christmas as a kid. . .
Today’s gratitude list is brought to you by . . .
Locking myself out of the house while my husband was out of town.
One of Josh Morris’ requests for our time in London.
Columbia Road Flower Market.
Flowers, pastries, shops lining the street.
Mom and Dad at the cafe across the street from our flat where we shared breakfast each morning.
St. Pancras station.
Our train to York left from King’s Cross, but we had to pop in to St. Pancras for a peek.
Our tube stop – right down the street from our flat.
Residing in a city with limited public transportation, an Oyster card is real magic.
The whole city is yours with a few dollars and a tap on the yellow circle.
Tea with my mom at The Orangery.
One of my very favorite moments from our time in London.
The palm house at Kew Gardens.
Off to the busy Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and classic London sights.
The scaffolding didn’t quite cover up the bell tower and it still chimed strong.
We walked across the bridge to the South Bank which was a mass of people and street performers.
And one of us enjoyed some cotton candy (er, candy floss?).
Classic London side street.
London was full, bustling with so many different people.
Everywhere you looked there were seas of people and beautiful buildings.
All of the pictures I grew up looking at didn’t compare to the grandness and charm of being there in real life.
I have so many swarming thoughts about marrying “young” – Josh was 22, I was 21.
We met when I was 18.
What I didn’t know at 18 was that there’s a whole lot of growing up that’s done between 20 and 30.
But, ultimately, I’m thankful for a partner to walk through life with.
Even though we are growing up together.
Finding our values – together and separately.
Getting angry sometimes.
Again and again and again.
We’ve walked together through some really hard seasons.
Year three was like the sky was falling and the pain and worry seemed relentless.
This year we’ve celebrated some really sweet moments.
We became grateful for all the good news.
Grateful for the people that are around us.
Grateful for opportunities to find joy and value in our work.
Even if that meant quitting one job and starting another.
We’ve also done a lot of really normal, every day things.
Like eating dinner.
Staying up too late with our friends.
And watching The Office over and over again.
I am grateful for you.
Your grace to let me stumble.
The way you approach situations with a completely different perspective.
(Which, while frustrating at times, is a wonderful gift.)
Your calmness when I’m spinning with worry.
The way you chase your passions.
And make shelves for me when I ask.
I’m eager for year five with you.