This is one of my favorite times of year. Last weekend we had the first snow of the season, and it was so beautiful. It snowed all day–soft, plump flakes that landed gently on the still-warm ground. I love how the first snow makes everything look so polished and peaceful.
I was inside preparing for our trip north for the holiday. The scene outside was so picturesque that I broke my own rule and started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t help myself. As I was working, I could hear Lucas’s delighted shrieks as he played outside with his daddy and enjoyed the snow. The pure joy and excitement of my boy made my heart feel light. Lucas kept knocking at the window of our back patio door to show me what they were doing. It was so sweet of him to want to include me. It didn’t take them long to build a great snowman and pepper the back yard with snow angels. Productivity went out the window and I found myself glued to the glass watching my boys enjoy the beautiful afternoon and laughing at their antics.
I started thinking about all I have to be thankful for. It has been a difficult year for me healthwise, but as always, the blessings have far outweighed the challenges. I’m so thankful for my husband who continues to be my number one supporter. We are both far from perfect yet our strengths offset each other’s weaknesses and we are really great together. I’m thankful for all the friends and family in my corner who help me navigate the stormy waters of cystic fibrosis. I’m thankful for my son who infuses my life with love and joy and meaning. I can no longer imagine life without his laughter. I’m thankful for great doctors who work hard to provide me with excellent care. I’m thankful for the strength that God gives me to continue living and thriving in spite of my challenges, and for the hope that fills my heart.
That particular afternoon, I was also feeling thankful for the lessons I’ve learned from cystic fibrosis. CF has given me eyes to view the world and my own life in a different way. The major and minor illnesses I’ve weathered have given me perspective on what is (and isn’t) important and I’ve gained a sort of freedom. I am a “doer” by nature, but because I’ve been sidelined with health issues in the recent years, I’ve learned the value of appreciating and experiencing the blessings of today and taking my sometimes frantic productivity down a notch or two (or ten). I’ve been forced to slow down and that can be frustrating. But a slower pace has afforded me the opportunity to experience a calm and appreciate beauty that may have gone unnoticed otherwise, and to do so without feeling guilty.
Sometimes this beauty is physical, like those dancing, sunlit snowflakes. Sometimes it’s a restful enjoyment of the simple things in my life. I love the mornings where Lucas and I have no set plans and I can play with him and sit and read him stories. I no longer feel guilty if the dishes stack up or the laundry piles grow. Those things need to be attended to eventually, but I’m much more able to let it be later and enjoy the moment at hand. That snowy afternoon I realized how pleasant it was to feel relaxed and unpressured by the 1000 things that needed doing and instead be free to enjoy the scene that unfolded before me as my boys romped and played in the backyard.
Sometimes I look around my house and can’t believe my eyes. There are messes and areas of disorganization that would have driven me crazy in my past life (the healthier years). They still drive me crazy sometimes. However, as time passes, I know I won’t remember the chaos or the clutter. But I will remember the quiet mornings and the snowy afternoons, the laughter of my son and husband, and the stories and snuggles. I am thankful for all the blessings in my life, and for the lessons I’ve learned, even at the hand of my disease, that have helped me to enjoy them.