I love this time of year. With back to back holidays approaching, time with family and friends and lots of traditions to be had—it’s an exciting time!
With all the preparation and things to look forward to though, I’ve noticed lately a trend about myself. What I’m learning is that I do a really good job of “holding my breath” in a sense. Making it to the next “big event” in life. Anyone else feel like this? Just make it to vacation next month. Make it to Thanksgiving break. Focus on the wedding, that’s 9 months away. Look forward to the new job…
For me, it’s easy to pick a date and wish away the time in between so that I can get to the next goal or thrilling moment. This has become some what natural for my heart and mindset–especially being married in the medical world.
For our family, it’s interview season (not for more school or residencies but for an ACTUAL job in the summer.) The potential to move again, and the excitement of the next phase—which we’ve been waiting for since my husband started medical school is just right around the corner now.
In medicine, there are lots of milestones to cross before you get to the finish line- and its easy to set your brain in the mode of “making it to that next phase.”
Go to med school. Take Step exams. Pass exams. Apply for residency. Finish med school. Move. Start residency. Take roughly 546 exams, including board certification exams. Pass all exams. Move again (if you are like us.) Interview for real jobs. Finish residency. Move again.
That’s basically been the flow of life for the last 10 years.
But thankfully, by the goodness of several friendships and some small and sometimes large nudges on my heart, I’ve been reminded that I have got to find a way to enjoy the present, the unknowns, and the savor the journey. To really show up for the small things going on in my life. To remember the small moments are just as meaningful as the big ones.
I started a study with a friend, and I feel like the timing could not be more perfect with how life feels right now. Melanie Shankle’s, Church of the Small Things. This study is such a sweet reminder about how being faithful in the small things is just as important as the big ones.
“A life isn’t made from one thing, one big moment, or one huge success. It’s created moment by moment, often with pieces that don’t look like anything beautiful on their own but are the very fabric of who God meant for us to become as we pack lunches, raise kids, love our neighbors, and simply be who he created us to be; nothing more, nothing less.” -Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small Things
With the holidays approaching and also a lens of valuing the small moments, this month, as a family we are writing down on a pumpkin something each day we are grateful for. And while explaining the “rules” to my girls before we started, I told them they would need to think of something different each day and also something that was specific to that day. It’s a harder exercise than expected and I’ve been challenged to think of something small and special about my day that I’m grateful for too.
Gratitude is a huge character trait I wish to instill in my children, and I also know that for them to see gratitude in action, it’s going to demonstrated and taught best through the thankfulness they see in me.
Gratitude is a small thing.
A small thing that I can do everyday to enjoy the present and also see the hidden beauty in serving and loving those around us. Today, I’m thankful my girls woke up (relatively) happy. That we got to school in one piece. That I could to kiss and hug everyone before they buzzed off. That my lunch packing was a notch down from panic mode. And that my dishwasher got emptied before 3pm.
It’s the little things, really.
I can hold my breath waiting on the big job or the graduation that is now 229 days away. I can place my thoughts on the next best thing or big event. Or I can focus on the daily things, try not to miss them– and let the Father use those small everyday pieces to build up my life.