It’s December 3rd and already my to-do list is three pages long. Typed.
10 point font.
There’s not a lot of white space in the margin of my days, just now, is what I’m saying.
Probably there isn’t a lot of that for a lot of us just now.
And there really isn’t that much extra time to devote to things that aren’t really necessary.
Picking out that perfect gift to slip under the tree, the one that will light up those eyes you love? Necessary.
Picking out the recipes and maybe donning an apron for an afternoon (or, if you’re like me, just plowing right into the flour and sugar and mess completely un-protected)? Necessary.
Picking up yesterday’s resentments and toting them along with you? Not really necessary.
Bundling up and heading out to sing carols or hear them sung, string lights or watch them glow, tromp over to the post office to mail the last of the cards? Necessary. Ish.
I have to be honest. I don’t really do that last one. I’d like to say it’s because I don’t want to kill the trees by buying paper cards anymore, but the truth is that I just always forget to buy cards. Or, if I do buy them, I inevitably forget to write them out. Or, if by some miracle I have remembered to do all that, generally I forget to send them.
Also, I usually forget to put cards on my to-do list.
But still, I like to think that I’m saving a tree or two.
Still, card-sending or not, there’s just not enough time for everything.
Certainly not enough time for harboring resentments and holding on to unforgiveness, which I do with alarming regularity, being human and all.
Anne Lamott said, wisely, that “Resentments make even the best of us feel superior.” (Anne Lamott, from “Small Victories – Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace”).
Speaking as a person who is fluent in resentment-holding, I can assure you that this is totally true.
There is nothing so satisfying to our own sense of smug-rightness as holding onto resentments.
But who in the world has time for that when there are a hundred thousand cookies to bake and presents to wrap and trees to trim and lights to untangle?
And yet, it’s so hard to give them up, these resentments that get in the way of our days.
Because we’re human. And it’s sorta obvious sometimes that we just really want to be smug. And we really really want to be right.
In our humanness (which is really just another way of saying brokenness) we want to be right like our lives depend on it. Like it’s going to save our lives, actually.
Rumi said it best:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” (~Rumi)
Ummm, Rumi? Yes, please. Sign me up. Count me in. Save me a place.
I’ll be right there.
A field where there’s some space? Enough light? Enough air so you can breathe deep, inhale peace and maybe enough energy to make just another couple dozen shortbread or untangle another string of bulbs without feeling the need to take a nap in order to recover from it all?
Enough space – and maybe grace – to mind what really matters, do what really matters, see what really matters?
Count me in.
The thing is, we can hold onto the grudges and the resentments and our own very-sure-rightness if we want to. I can do this. You can do this. That’s definitely an option.
Or we can choose to let them go.
We can choose to let go of the need to feel superior, and just simply melt into the bliss of feeling connected.
Honestly, isn’t this season tiring enough without spending all that extra energy holding onto being right?
Wouldn’t it be better to make space for peace instead?
Space for things that really are necessary –
Making a mess of the kitchen making a mess of cookies?
Save me a place in that field.
I have a feeling there’s a whole lot of grace there.