One of the things I love about the Reverb 10 challenge is that you are encouraged to write your own prompts and then answer them, which is particularly perfect for me right now. So here is my prompt:
December 23: Surrender. In the craziness of this time of year, what lessons in surrender can you learn? How can you apply this to busy times in the following year?
All my Christmas plans for this year have been completely de-railed by a mother-in-law with a broken wrist and a toddler with the stomach flu. These plans included tickets that I bought to see Carrie Underwood nine months ago, several get-togethers with friends, and my annual Christmas Eve open house, just to name a few. I would like to say that I have taken this all in stride, but I am going to be really honest here and say that I have been one step away from a complete melt down for most of the last ten days. Just when I think I can start to get back on track, life throws more crap at me. Some people are not big fans of Christmas, so missing out on some of these things would not be a big deal. But this is pretty much my favourite time of the year. My house has been decorated since November.
So here I am, two days to Christmas I have placed the house under quarantine to avoid spreading the worst possible Christmas gift to others (nothing says holidays like barfing into a bucket). And I'm going to be really honest again and say that I am totally feeling sorry for myself right now.
So what better time for a lesson in surrender? Because as life insists on repeatedly demonstrating, I am not in control right now (did I mention that I am a control freak?) I spent last night helping my 3 year old puke into a garbage can, and today holding him while he slept, afraid to even get up for a few minutes in case he needed me. Tonight I pray for sleep, but I am not holding out much hope. And I know that there are a lot of people in the world who are going through much worse things right now, but I don't believe generally that knowing someone else is worse off makes anyone feel better about a shitty situation.
All I can do is surrender. All I can do is remind myself that everything passes, that this moment is not forever. That it will get better. I can try to let go of my expectations, and take joy in the small moments, in the fact that this afternoon my son felt better enough to play. I can take joy in the moment he asked my husband to call Santa to put a Bumblebee Transformer toy on his Christmas list. I can be here now.
The image above is a perfect example of the transformative power of surrender. I was dreading the 3.5 hour drive home from Kamloops last week, as we returned home with my mother-in-law for the holidays. But then we had a beautiful sunny day for the drive, and the snow-covered mountains called out to me. When we stopped for gas, I pulled out my camera and spent the rest of the drive taking photos out the passenger side window. I call this new game speed photography. It posed a unique challenge to try to capture an image while travelling at 100 kilometres an hour. And it made what was going to be a long, boring drive into a lovely, enjoyable experience.
Over the next few days of cancelled plans, I need to surrender. I need to find the joy in these moments, not wallow in the dissapointment of events missed. I will call this practice for the next time life throws a few curveballs my way.
May your holidays be filled with many moments of bliss and surrender.