Peace in Surrender

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I sometimes think of myself as a recovered perfectionist. I still like things to be just so. But there are plenty of things I have learned to let go, too.

An example of this would be our Christmas tree. I let it go.

Everyone knows the ornaments should be spaced evenly. They should be evenly distributed on the branches and organized somewhat by size and texture (too many shiny ones in the same spot is no bueno). Spacing looks nice. It makes the tree twinkle. And from a practical standpoint, it ensures the tree won’t topple over.

But this year, we did something different. No, it wasn’t a change-up in the musical selection: it’s Chipmunks Christmas for ornament hanging, ALL THE WAY!

Our change up was this: I didn’t hang any ornaments. And I didn’t bark suggestions. I let the kiddies do their thing.

They ran all around that sweet little tree (shout out to Bernard’s Tree Farm in Honey Brook) while Dad and I sat back to watch.

Oh, the splendor! It was so fun to watch the kids in all their glory. They asked about the ornaments they didn’t know stories for. They regaled us with the stories they did know:

  • “This was my baby ornament!” LM1 said
  • “This is my dinosaur!” LM2 said
  • “This one has my name!” LM3 said

It was great to see the children in charge. They were so joyful and I wondered if there had been a time in the past when this experience was marred by my insistence on perfection.

Did I stop their process? Did I question their spontaneous crafting? Did I prohibit the fun with my own need for a tree to look a certain way? (I mean, seriously, it’s just a tree, right?)

I’m sure the answer to many of those questions is YES.

But this year, I felt nothing but peace. I breathed and watched and enjoyed watching something I’ve never paid enough attention to. Presence and spendor. Finding calm and laughing and feeling the joy in the room.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Courage

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A couple of weeks ago, I got the idea into my head that I wanted to learn how to install chair rail. I wanted to use a power saw and make something in my house look different. A good starting place felt like our powder bathroom. It’s a small room with small, simple angles and dimensions.

I usually find peace in creative endeavors. But this was something totally new: something I never did before and knew absolutely nothing about.

Instead of feeling at ease or energized over tackling something new, the opposite happened. I bought the necessary supplies for my project and let the items sit in our garage for weeks.

I asked myself every day why I didn’t want to start the project. Here’s what I came up with:

I was afraid to make mistakes. I didn’t want to drive back to Lowes to purchase more supplies. And I didn’t want to do the job alone. I needed to give myself a talkin’ to.

All of my stopping points were fairly simple issues to think my way out of. Mistakes are really opportunities to learn. Driving for more supplies doesn’t take much effort. Just put the key in the ignition, get there, and buy what I need. But working alone took a little something extra.

I needed to ask for help. But I was embarrassed to do it. But I could not learn everything I needed to by watching YouTube and reading a couple of blogs (I love and trust you, Bob Vila, but you can’t do everything without at least a little bit of facetime).

When I finally built up the courage to ask for help, the project was done in an afternoon. And while I thought the best, most peaceful part of this experience would come in the finishing of something new and interesting, it was something far greater. I found peace in the time I spent with my mentor. I learned new things from a special person, and that made all the difference. At the end of the day, my heart settled on that and grew a few inches extra.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!