Our boys felt strongly that we should eat more pizza in the year ahead. And build more forts.
It was January 1st. We’d walked to a favourite beach but the wind whipped the sand something crazy, driving us into a riverbed that folded into the forest hush, and we asked the boys about expectations, and how we could pray for them in 2018.
‘Pray that I do my chores with the right attitude,’ said Scott.
‘Pray that the year would go as perfectly as possible in an imperfect world,’ said Cam.
Those prayer requests – about attitude and acceptance – might inform a lot of my thinking this year.
Because in every relationship – spouse, inner circle besties, casual acquaintances and kids – we’re either focusing on someone’s good qualities, or their bad qualities. We’re definitely doing one or the other, consciously or not. Acceptance of others’ failings, and an attitude realignment towards their fortes, could set those relationships on new and astonishing trajectories. It would be so rad if, at every juncture of this year, we could pause and go, ‘Yip. I still wish everyone well.’
Also, if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person (ask me how I know), then you tend to take responsibility for other people’s happiness. You can read a room and you’re seldom wrong. You absorb the bad vibes. You internalize conflict. You over-analyze, trying to fix people.
The truth we need to accept is that God places us in relationships not so we can change others, but so He can change us into more of Him. It’s not up to us to solve the people around us. It’s up to us to be Jesus to them – so that when they bump up against us they find themselves in a place of peace. And I’m learning that a shiny-happy attitude gets you far, but not far enough. Acceptance brings a needed and beautiful balance.
Like, this holiday, Cameron saw his visual impairment with 20/20 vision. He sobbed his fury into our duvet because he can’t see the birds and the wildlife that fascinate him. What’s the point, he yelled, of just hearing them? What’s the point if everything’s just a blur!
When he voices those hard truths, I got nothing.
I’m all about optimism but no amount of positive thinking changes his reality.
And maybe there are hard truths you just need to accept this year. Because the truth always sets us free, even the hard truth. There’s something freeing about the acceptance that unleashes the necessary catharsis of legitimate grief.
Cam has also accepted that if he wants to go on Grade 4 camp this year, he has to learn to put in his contact lenses on his own. And he really wants to go on Grade 4 camp.
So this week, he did it.
He can’t actually see his lenses, without his lenses. Tricky. But he’s figured out how to feel for the lens – rinse it – balance it – do all the elbow and wrist and eyelid maneuvers. And I wish I’d strapped a GoPro to his forehead to capture the miracle and the wild whooping and dancing down the passage that ensued.
It was a pretty perfect moment in an imperfect world.
Back in that dry riverbed on the first day of a new year, we gathered our things and ourselves and headed out into the wind that was rapidly picking up, knowing that the year’s pace wouldn’t take long to catch up.
But not before Scott said, ‘Good talk, guys. Good talk.’
Another pretty perfect moment in an imperfect world.
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Happy New Year, lovely people! Please share this post to encourage someone.
Here’s what’s on the menu, if you’re reading this in an email: