When I was younger I couldn’t wait to grow up.
In high school I dreamed of life-long friends I’d make in college.
In college I dreamed of the future husband I’d hopefully meet.
Once married, I dreamed of the whimsy life we’d have together, the white picket fence, a joyful vocation of ministry.
Decorating our first apartment I dreamed of the first home we’d buy and restore with new floors, fresh paint, and vibrant flowerbeds.
I dreamed of babies and once I had them, I missed my career as an Event Manager and longed for the days they would talk.
When they learned how to speak and braved their stubborn wills, I wished for the days we would have meaningful conversations.
You get the picture.
I lived for longing.
For “one day…” or “back in the day…” completely avoiding “today.”
Isn’t this the tension many of us experience? How do we connect longing with reality?
I’m really good at the dreaming part. In a 24 hour period chances are I’ve dreamt up four business plans, written three stories, mentally redecorated our house, and imagined how incredible our life would be if we lived where eucalyptus trees bowed over a porch-wrapped cottage. People are nicer wherever “out there” is. We bbq every night and all the neighborhood kids come to play in our front yard and we bake cookies in my ginormous kitchen. In the ideal world, Bryan and I never fight and problems dissipate with the passing seasons.
I’m a dreamer. A fan of more. Of “one day” and “when we…” But the danger with living from a space of longing is I forget to be grateful for the very life I’m living today.
Gratitude pulls back those far-off strings of longing and ties them around my wrist and reminds me with every bounce of the present just how beautiful this moment and this relationship and this neighborhood are.
Gratitude celebrates what is instead of distracting with what can be.
So although my soul longs for quintessential farm life with trees as far as the eye can see and garden produce overflowing in wooden bowls on a handmade kitchen square, I choose thankfulness for our rented cottage with people I adore and a beach town beckoning to be explored. I hear reality ask, “This. Today. Is it enough? Will you spend your life wishing for the future or learning from today?”
These days. Instead of waiting for life to happen, I’m thankful to know it is happening. All around. Every second. And it surpasses the “more” state of mind because it’s actually real.