It amazes me how much detail our son remembers. Sure, it’s one thing to know exactly where his toothbrush is at any given time. But to recall with a surgeons precision that his cousin lives near the “water beach” (<exact words) and that we need to take an “ah-pane” (<airplane) to get there? That takes much more observation and memory recall. Humor me, but is that fairly common for a 2 year old? If so, please don’t deflate my proud mama balloon.
One thing I’ve been thinking on the past few weeks is this phrase I keep coming back to: I need to CHOOSE to notice goodness in my life.
Recognize that you get to make a choice; it is not passive and it is hard. Even the hardest days back when I used to work in the corporate world, were nothing compared to the challenges I face now as a mom. Now that I’ve been a mom for almost 2 1/2 years (which I realize isn’t that long, in the scheme of things), I’ve learned that in many ways for me, the baby stage is easier than toddlerhood. Yes, plenty of things in babyhood are harder such as sleep deprivation and the constant feeding. The one thing that makes toddlerhood harder is their strong will and newfound ability to make conscious choices. Maybe it’s just our toddler and his age right now, but most days involve a battle of the wills in some aspect. That can break a person down, even the most patient one, really quickly and it can get ugly. Toddlers should be an interrogation tactic for detectives everywhere. (<<You heard it here first.) But seriously, as a momma some days it doesn’t take much for something small to set you off and make you lose your cool. When patience and smiles are running low or nonexistent, because you feel like 99% of the words coming out of your mouth are “no, please” and “stop throwing toys in anger” it can be difficult to choose to notice goodness in life.
What about if instead of focusing on all the times I have to say “no”, I choose to focus on the fact that every time I say “no” it is out of love for our child because I know there is something far better for him? How about choosing to see timeouts as a way of teaching self control? What if I see taking something fun away as a moment to teach delayed gratification? All of those actions involve taking an active step in choosing to notice goodness. There is nothing passive about making a choice. That holds true for everything in life, whether you are a mom or not. If we choose to live life by recognizing that we get to make choices, your perspective on what is good or bad will be forever altered.
Every moment whether easy or hard can be turned into an extraordinary memory. It takes the simple yet difficult act of us choosing to notice goodness in all our circumstances. Picture this. You’re sitting right at the ocean’s shore, the water gently lapping at your feet and ankles. Eyes closed, you smell the briny air and hear the noisy call of seagulls. With each crashing wave, you begin to feel all the tension slowly melt away from head to toe. Sitting there at the shoreline, you are at complete ease. Nothing can shake the goodness you are experiencing, in that very moment. Then, a seagull flies overhead and decides to use the bathroom right on you. Now, there’s been a wrench thrown into the idyllic moment you were just experiencing. This crossroads is where you get to make a choice. Laugh about it, clean it up and keep on sitting in your chair breathing in the salty air. Or, you can get mad about it, pick up your things and stomp off to leave the beach, letting the rest of your day be ruined.
I know that is a simplistic example of what real life is like, but think about your circumstances for a moment. Let it sink it, all that your life holds, both easy and hard. We all have hard things, likely outnumbering the easy things. Yet one thing can hold true, if we let it. We can take every moment we experience in this life and choose to notice goodness in it, and then choose to make it into an extraordinary memory.
There you have it; two big ideas that have and will continue to challenge me for the rest of my life. Noticing the goodness in life by making a choice to do so is hardly revolutionary. Yet it can be, if we let it etch our very souls and permeate our innermost thoughts.