Over the last few months I have been challenged by this one word.
Enough: as much or as many as required; adequate.
I have realized with a bit of sheepish shock, that I rarely declare this into my own world and heart.
I rarely practice saying to myself, “Today, you were enough. You did enough. Well done!”
Instead, I hear so easily the word pairing of ‘not enough.’
During the last months of practicing a new way, kneading new words into my subconscious, I have found many fields of exercise availing themselves to my training.
Take Christmas pictures for example.
Family photos. Dear me.
I love having them, but my goodness gracious, the ordeal of it all is remarkable.
And sometimes ridiculous.
But maybe that is just in our house.
Way back in the days of yore…back when I obsessed over Christmas cards and address lists and a long letter detailing our year…
What is that?
You never got yearly letters from us with cute pictures?
You only ever received them haphazardly and with no consistency?
I said, “back when I obsessed” not “back when I actually succeeded in getting things finished.”
So. Back when, we took a picture every single holiday season. Every single one.
And for our first decade on the field, I wrote a newsy update for every single holiday season. Every single one.
We mailed about half.
The other half most likely still sit in a box in my schoolroom. Half addressed envelopes. Poorly copied letters.
And stacks of photos that never went out.
Stacks of pages and guilty regret paying homage to my lack and my deficiency and also my lack.
(Yes, I realize I am repeating myself.)
In fact, since I’m opening this pandora’s box of guilty splendor, let me just go ahead and admit that every single day of my tenure on the field there has existed somewhere in my kitchen or on my bookshelf or tucked away on a corner of my schoolroom desk, a stack.
A brooding, diabolical, relentless weight of expectancy that I never, never found the end of.
A mocking heap of defeat.
Treasured letters that await beautiful responses.
And never found them.
I absolutely love letters. (and Christmas cards!)
They are a lost art, truly.
Very dear souls have written (with pen and ink!) letters to us through the years and those messages mean SO much to me. I always weave and spin and create the most loving and eloquent responses---in my head.
And in my heart.
With every intention of putting those profuse thanks onto a page.
But, by and large, other necessities protrude into my intentions robbing all of us of the blessing of actual follow through.
But for some reason, I could never get rid of the stack.
I could never admit that I wasn’t going to be able to complete that task.
I could never ‘delete’ and move on, accepting that for that time and season I had already done and been enough.
(I couldn’t take the ‘B’)
So the stack would remain.
And shift from counter space, to desktop, to storage bin accompanied by pangs and remorse and ever valiant resilience that would lie to my silly self and say, “Someday you will get around to that!”
This week, it looked like this:
Christmas card stock (a stack of it!) that I bought on clearance in the USofA on furlough over a decade ago. And envelopes with poinsetta leaves decorating the border awaiting the beautifully printed card that I have designed in my head.
That I designed in my head 15 years ago.
That I have NEVER printed.
But the Christmas card stock remains.
And ominously reminding me that I haven’t.
With the nagging of ‘I won’t ever’.
And the guilty beckoning of, ‘keep it just a few years more.’
In a simple, momentary glance at my paper supply cabinet in my schoolroom, the loud, resonating message of ‘look at all you are failing to get done’ echoes around me following me into my work and my service of the present day.
I need a new song in my heart.
As I’ve poured through our old Christmas photos this year I’ve noted again how the imperfect ones are the ones that bring such delight now.
The ones we laugh about and re-enact are the broken ones. The lumpy ones.
The real ones.
Those are the ones that flood our souls with profound and hilarious.
Those are the ones that were in every way, enough.
Today, in celebration of all the glory of broken and imperfect, I offer you a glimpse into the annual agony of the Cashling Christmas picture (with a few remakes we attempted just this week.)
I’m learning a new tune, slowly but surely, and it says that what I am and have already is sufficient. Ample.
(you are SO welcome to 'sing' along...)
Joy to the World!
Tone it down a tad, Si!
So close until I suggested they hug each other…
And this week…
We did a retake that year and added Baxter to bring some cheer…
It didn’t exactly work out.
Pet the dog?
During this next attempt I was holding four bags of M&M’s, offered as a bribe for a quick and easy ‘smile and we’re done’ success.
They were all in…
A second try…
Look at the camera!
And this week…
Finally we would get that perfect shot of sweetness…
To be printed.
And stored needlessly.
(and blogged about a decade later!)
Celebrate this year remembering the arrival of a grace so monstrous it could conquer even the most gargantuan of holiday (any day) guilt.
Swaddled atop hay. Surrounded by smelly animals. Attended by raucous shepherds.
Him. And You.
Amidst all our stacked up deficiency.
God WITH us.
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth PEACE to all on whom His favor rests!”