Things are changing in my heart these days.
We are five weeks into the new year, just about the time when the gyms stop being overcrowded and the motivation to avoid that caffeine, or sugar, or whatever, starts to slip. The year is burying certain parts of the country in deep, impenetrable snow, while in other parts (like mine) the earth rides a wild seesaw between spring and the heart of winter.
This is the time of snow days and hacking coughs that last for weeks, of stir crazy children and sloppy boots and snow pants that no one ever puts away. Of deadlines crowded one upon the next and the mess of Christmas crashing into the insanity of birthdays. The days when children scream at each other over that one matchbox car, even though there are three dozen others to choose from, and the noise level is always about three times what my quiet-loving soul is ready to handle.
And yet this year I’m staying pretty calm.
Things are changing in my heart these days. There’s a word that I’m whispering over and over every day, every time the chaos and the too-much threatens to overwhelm: treasure.
Mary treasured all these things, reflecting upon them in her heart.
Too often, I have chosen to “treasure”—to cling to—the worst of my life. I used to count the number of pieces of laundry I had to fold, gnashing my teeth in resentment. More recently, I’ve approached one of my children with frustration at a constant simmer, waiting to boil over at the first sign of resistance. I have focused on strings of nights with little sleep and the self-centered ingratitude of children. I’ve brooded over injustices and blog comments and Facebook status updates that rankle.
But my heart is changing these days. The thing I’m learning—the thing I’ve always known, the thing you know as well as I, the thing that is common sense, and yet we all conveniently forget—is that like begets like. What we choose to focus on defines our reality. When my emotional energy is focused on the worst facets of my life, the worst soon becomes the only thing I see.
But whispering this word, treasure, over and over when irritations arise is giving me the gift of release. I have the choice to release the bad moments and hold onto the good ones. It’s steering me on a course toward serenity of heart. It’s giving me the ability to head off conflicts with that one child, turning them into giggle fests–not always, but sometimes is much better than never–of keeping me calm when things don’t go my way, and releasing some of the pressure on my temper. I’m noticing the hysterical kid moments these days, laughing over them late at night with my husband in a way he’s always been able to, but I frequently was not. More of my life unfolds within a glow of gratitude these days, an awareness of the richness given to me.
Things are changing in my heart these days. And that is a very good thing.