The past 4 days have been public holidays and sadly, I am returning to work tomorrow, while most of the population (in New Zealand) enjoys their summer holidays. We have had the most awesome weather – it has been ‘absolute summer’ this Christmas/holiday period – fine blue skies and summer heat. Beautiful days.
I have had the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream of helping with a Christmas lunch for the poor and needy ( – these days referred to as the lonely and those who can’t afford to have a Christmas dinner). We (hubby and I) worked really hard for a number of hours but it was SO rewarding. I got to meet and work with some great people, and we served Christmas lunch to about 250 people. By the end of the day my husband and I were sore and tired – and that’s ok. It was a good reason to be tired. It was a good feeling, like we’d really contributed to something bigger than just ‘us’ and contributed something positive to others in our community.
The next two days were spent resting and relaxing [thus my posts about taking time to breathe, and in so doing, to relax.] Today we hosted a family bar-b-que at our house. As some of you may know, I sometimes feel quite conflicted when it comes to family and have some issues around trust, and the feeling of being judged etc – but we try to invite family over a few days after Christmas for those who are nearby and haven’t gone away on holiday. Normally I get a bit stressed in the build up to people arriving – I want the food to be sorted, everything laid out nicely (outside but in the shade), and the house to be tidy.
This is not the only time I see family but one of the regular events that I participate in (principally because I’m hosting it) and it’s a good time to catch up with everyone. As we have grown older, family ends up being several of my brothers and their wives, some of their grown kids and their partners, and now some of their grandchildren as well (which is quite delightful!)
These past few months I’ve been trying to learn to take things as they come, take time to breathe, and to look at the big picture (ie, does this little thing really matter in the big scheme of life?). So today instead of stressing, I worked hard getting ready, and making sure my guests were looked after but I didn’t get so uptight about cleaning the house and making sure everything was perfect. I didn’t spend time worrying internally about who may or may not have been judging me or what they were thinking, or what they thought of my not particularly tidy house, or my housekeeping. I just let go.
Perhaps I didn’t spend a great deal of time just sitting chatting to my family (in fact I know I didn’t), but I did enjoy the day and the atmosphere; I enjoyed that my family didn’t really have to do anything, – they could just enjoy being here and being with each other. And I particularly enjoyed the presence of the children. Five children between the ages of 5 months and 6 years – the children seemed to enjoy themselves, and each other, and they were LOVELY!
So while I might have some unresolved family issues that tap into my history; I made an effort with my family (by having them over) and I enjoyed it! And I didn’t overly stress and I was pleased we’d all been able to get together.
I am quick to judge my own character flaws and inconsistencies, my lack of confidence and lack of wisdom – and all the negative stuff I perceive in and of myself. But right now it seems appropriate to acknowledge the good things, the positive steps, to just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
So I think it’s time to take a moment to relax. And breathe. And enjoy.