Welcome to Monday on the porch, everyone. Chances are, no matter what the weekend held for you, today finds you a bit wiped out, tired out, maybe shopped out or talked out and in recovery mode. The thing about holidays is that there’s so much preparation and build-up to the big event, a let-down afterward is almost inevitable. After all the shopping, and cooking, and traveling, and greeting, and meeting, and eating, and (of course) dish cleaning… then… woosh… suddenly, it’s over.
The speed of its passage is a reminder we must live the joy while it’s happening, savor the tastes while the food is hot, tune into the conversations while we’re all gathered in one place. The gifts of the moment are always a fleeting thing. On this post-Thanksgiving Monday, I find myself looking at our gifts with a new appreciation. Suddenly, all the little joys of the weekend seem anything but small.
Indulge me while I share a few, and then I’ll tell you why.
Pumpkin cookies cooling on the table early in the morning. The house smells wonderful. The boys are home. We’re all waking up under the same roof for the first time in months. I stop and just listen to their sounds. Hands snatch cookies while I’m not looking. It’s fine. I’ve made plenty. I catch a glimpse now and then, remember when those hands were little. They’re not anymore.
A drive beneath an incredible winter sky. Thanksgiving dinner is only a few miles away. I’ve stopped to take a photo of these clouds. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The clouds stretch a floating range of snow-capped peaks across the sky. Contented cattle graze beneath, unaware of the majesty overhead. I’m thankful for this quiet moment to stop, to admire, to appreciate the imagination with which God wields his paintbrush.
Happy dogs at play after we return home from Nanny’s. Something about their boundless energy is infectious. Their joy in simply being together reminds me that I should be this joyful. The dogs are like the lilies of the field. They do not worry about how they will be fed or clothed or cared for in the next moment. They simply enjoy this one while it’s happening.
A car with a Christmas tree on top, the day after Thanksgiving. The sight of it reminds me that our tree at home is already set up and decorated. We’ve had the chance to deck the halls and watch our annual Christmas movie while the boys were home. With college and work schedules, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do that this year. I know there will come a day when we can’t. It makes me all the more grateful that we did this year.
Friends in church together on Sunday morning before parting ways to head back to three different colleges. Over the weekend, they’ve hung out, laughed, stood in the midnight Black Friday line at Cabellas, and milked every drop of available time. I catch them after church and tell them to hold still so I can snap a photo. They roll their eyes, but they cooperate and offer up big smiles, anyway. They wonder why I want to take their picture on an ordinary Sunday.
Moms do the silliest things.
Just minutes later they learn that a classmate, a team mate, a friend who graduated from high school just last May is gone. A tragic accident. A terrible and unexpected thing at the closing of a holiday weekend. Someone they just saw, texted, talked to, this morning has shed this earthly life for a heavenly one.
We are all reminded, in the hardest way that in this life, all things are temporal.
All gifts, great and small, are only momentary gifts. We must treasure them while we can.