I know I just wrote about being grateful, but I have to give thanks again. Chad has a good-paying, something-he’s-interested-in job again! And I am SO grateful…
I’ve got to be honest, when he got home from running errands today I was not in the best mood. We were attempting to tame the beast of a mess that the Garage has become. Plastic bins were everywhere, along with toys, off-season clothes, the entrails of the van that I quickly cleaned out so I had room to pick up some free boxes, and deflated floaties Sammy kept following me with, insisting I blow up. And I was still in my P.J.’s, but not because I wanted to be, just because that’s how my morning had turned out.
I had asked Chad to get some large trash bags to store our winter clothes in but forgot to specify I wanted white so I could write with black marker on them to label them. When he came in, made a path through the mess and handed me the black bags I sighed. I had already spent $7 the day before on (the name brand for extra strong) trash bags that were white but too small. Now we had large bags but they were black. It doesn’t sound like something to stress about, but it’s silly what sometimes ends up feeling like the last straw.
There in that hot garage, with the kids playing with the containers I was trying to go through and organize, asking me questions every other moment (including “why is this taking sooooo long to organize?”) and mentally trying to be brave while we waited for a phone call about work…I was stressed.
But looking at the black bags I just closed my eyes, took a deep breath and said something unconvincingly about it being fine.
“We could use them for weeds.”
“Or we could use them for moving,” Chad said.
“Yeah, we can use them.”
“Did you hear me? I said we can use them for moving. For moving.”
Just like that a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I understood. He had got the call. He had the job!
And I started to sob.
The last time Chad was laid off, he was unemployed or underemployed for over 4 years. I was bracing myself for a long, challenging time. I know what it’s like to water down milk, eat only canned vegetables, use your birthday money for bills and try your best to keep a happy face. Even when you don’t feel happy.
I’ve learned how to graciously be on the receiving end of charity because for 2 Christmases strangers were our family’s Secret Santa. They provided generous gifts of new Tinkerbell shoes and sparkly jeans and toys for my children. There were new towels from Target and a suede jacket and lotions from Bath & Body Works for me. Chad got a gift card to Lowes and a new coat too.
Of course, life is not about stuff. But when suddenly the area under the tree isn’t so bare and it has nothing to do with you, you are humbled and grateful your children will get to unwrap more than just the second hand toy you found and hid for a month because you weren’t sure you’d still have the money on Christmas.
And in that moment standing in our doorway, as people walked through the snow and into our home carrying gifts, feeling unspeakable gratitude, with tears welling up in my eyes, I felt blessed to be going through that trial. I told myself I would remember how much we can make a difference in other people’s lives if we choose to.
I hope we get to to do that this year. Last Christmas the kids each chose something at the Dollar Store to put in the Toys-for-Tots bin, and I was grateful we could do that. This year I hope we can give a little bit more.
Life is not easy. Life isn’t fair. But when something works out, you just have to feel grateful.
There in the garage, next to black and white trash bags, plastic tubs of decorations and winter clothes, while kids continued to ask questions I didn’t feel like answering, I hugged my husband and cried.
I cried and cried, and let him hold me. Writing about it I’m still overwhelmed by that moment and I find myself getting glossy-eyed again. We weren’t going to have to go through all that again right now. Sometimes it’s true that having to wait for something makes you more grateful. I know that whenever we get to be on the giving side again we will make the most of it. I will happily buy that huge Bath & Body Works Gift Set for that mother going through hard times and I won’t need any thank you, because I will be the one who is thankful I can give it.
God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, but he does push you to your outermost limits. He gives you opportunities to completely turn to Him and rely on Him. You end up in situations where you want to question everything. But if things aren’t working out yet it’s because it’s not the end yet. I truly believe that. And if you keep holding on you’ll get that happy, tears-in-your-eyes moment too. Maybe even in your P.J.s while standing in the garage.
‘Till Tomorrow! Luv, Eva