I was sitting at my son’s choral festival last night (he had a solo!) thinking about all of the times I sat through these things wishing they could be over so that I could get home and drink. Even when our daughter had band concerts all those years ago, before I was fully into my addiction, I used to be preoccupied with where we could go for dinner so that I could get a drink (I wasn’t drinking at home then). In fact most of the after school activities that they were involved in resulted in me wishing I was somewhere else. How much of their beautiful lives did I miss?
It got me thinking – how much time do I spend wishing for something else rather than enjoying what I have or the moment I’m in?
My husband and I lived in a cute little split foyer house for the first 20 years of our marriage. The whole time I was in that house, I was trying to improve, fix up, or move. I don’t think I spent enough time enjoying just living in that house. I don’t think I spent enough time appreciating our back yard with it’s beautiful HUGE oaks and maples that were a pain in the ass in the fall but oh so lovely in the spring and summer…now I miss them. And when I talk to the kids and see the house through their eyes, I see what a wonderful life we made in that house. I wonder how much I missed sitting around wishing it away?
I’m pretty good about watching my kids grow and being “in the moment” with them. We used to do some crazy stuff when they were young and when anyone would ask me what the heck I was doing, I would respond “Making memories of course!”. Even still, I remember times when they were babies, wishing they would grow up a little so that they could give me a break (three in diapers, two of whom are twins is TOUGH). When they were toddlers, I remember wishing they would get a little older so that they would understand that I wasn’t saying no to be mean but to protect them. I also remember when they were 9-12 (the worst age for boys in my opinion) and they were mouthy and defiant, that they would get a little older and grow out of that stuff. And although those wishing times were few, I would trade everything to have even one back.
Then there’s the little stuff, wishing the traffic would move instead of enjoying the solitude, the scenery, the music on the radio. Wishing the work day would end instead of enjoying my co-workers, improving my work or just goofing off for a change. Wishing Christmas would hurry up and get here instead of truly enjoying the season and all it brings. Wishing for more sober time instead of enjoying the journey of recovery.
I need to slow down and look around at all that I have rather than wishing for things I do not have. I need to trust that God is going to provide and that no matter what, I have all that I need right now and it’s pretty damn good.
True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The great blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not. –Seneca (Seneca the Elder)