Charles Dickens’ book has nothing to do with this post. In fact, when thinking about the New Year and what 2017 would mean for me, the words “Great Expectations” jumped to the forefront, daring me to question any other way in which to caption the hopes I have for the upcoming 365 days of my life.
But then, you see, my nemesis Murphy had to make an appearance and muck things up in a serious way.
Christmas Eve began a plague of illness in my house. The joy and excitement of Christmas was overshadowed by a vomiting six-year-old and a dictator-like four-year-old (who turned out to have bronchitis, a sinus infection, pink eye, and an ear infection). Who felt like she was doing The Walk of Shame at the doctor’s office?? THIS Mom! It was one of those out-of-body experiences where I found myself at 1 in the morning, asking my husband if he wanted to put the toys together or go clean up puke. And considering the train tracks and their accompanying buildings had sparse directions and screw holes that didn’t line up, my husband chose puke. Thanks, honey.
That’s life, right? I could deal with the germs and handle the lack of sleep, but what was ironic was the fact that this was the first Christmas we had intended to travel after the 25th. I had grand plans to go home to Richmond, and see my friends who lived there and get together with those also visiting for the holidays. We were going to go to Pittsburgh and visit my husband’s family, and get to see people there. I was excited to go. We had plans. Murphy had others.
And let’s not leave out the Turkey That Didn’t Cook. I am no master chef, but apparently, turkeys aren’t my thing. So, if you liked light meat, you were in luck. If dark meat was what you wanted…well, better luck at 9pm. Seriously. My family was very nice about it. This wasn’t the first turkey I had cooked. What. The. Heck.
Great Expectations. Mediocre Reality.
Isn’t that the way? I could just go on and on: We hired a professional to do some work, and my husband ends up having to fix it. I made a plan to write my blog Friday and we get a snow delay so there’s an hour lost and no opportunity to write.
Expectation vs. Reality can really be a downer. But despite all these annoying setbacks, I remain the eternal optimist. I will always think the best of people. I will always give folks the benefit of the doubt. Things will be alright. You see, most recently I have been dwelling in this place called “Grace” and I really like it here.
I’m not sure anyone wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to do a horrible job at everything I attempt today,” AND I sincerely doubt that when things don’t go the way we planned, we look to the sky and shout, “Thank you so much!” (minus the sarcasm and hand gestures).
I have Great Expectations for 2017. I have finally found my stride. Look out, people: I am here to make a difference.
I cannot say what flipped the switch, but I can say that I am embracing a quote from Gandhi, stating, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Despite all the missteps of the holidays, I still came out of the other side smiling. I am excited for what’s to come – and folks – there is nothing remarkable coming! Just life.
I have finally accepted ME. I have accepted that we have two remarkable children. I have accepted that our days are often imperfect, but I can always discover the good if I take the time to look. I have accepted that the things I have planned aren’t always going to happen the way I wanted them to.
And forget mundane acceptance! I will rejoice in these things because they are mine. No one else will live these days like I do. This time is intended for me, and my eyes and heart are open to recognize the gifts that are present each day.
I will not apologize for my silly personality, or incessant baking, or irrepressible need to make things. They are what bring me joy. Sharing this joy with others brings me life.
And while we are on the topic of Sharing; I mean…let’s not leave out the HUGE step I took in putting myself out here for all of you to see. For every Instagram picture, every Facebook post, I am – at least once a week – questioning: Do people really care? Is this TOO much information? And then I retort (to myself…because that’s not weird AT ALL): This is the point, Megan. Whether my aim is to get you to smile, to laugh, to think; I am not out there, filling your heads with fluff. I have a purpose.
And the best news of the day is that you do too! Some of you reading this are facing challenges and difficulties that are far more dire, far more stressful than anything I have listed here. If you have read some of my past blogs you will know that I have been in the trenches of depression, loss, and pain. It was really quite serendipitous that just this week we had a speaker at our MOPS meeting who shared her journey to finding meaning in her life. And this morning, I listening to our pastor saying the very quote by Epictetus that I had intended to post on here: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
By residing in Grace, I am finding that I am perfectly imperfect. I am a flawed human who does her best to show kindness to others regardless of the circumstances. I might raise my voice when my children adopt sloth-like maneuvers on school mornings, but I love my sons and they know it. If I can accept the imperfections of others and encourage them to look for the good, then I can do the same for myself. There are no words to describe the exuberance I feel in finally reaching this point in my journey.
I will stumble, I’m sure (It’s a Megan thing – trust me), but there are all of you around me, to lift me up and set me back on my feet should I need it. And now you know that I am prepared to do some lifting as well. Great hopes. Great intentions. Great expectations. Set your sights high; and we’ll lift each other even higher. Happy 2017.