And suddenly I realized: today, this moment, these circumstances, this time and place, this is as good as it gets.
Oh but no, logic wants to say.
You’re living in a little trailer home that’s crowded and old.
You’re surrounded by brown grass, bare trees, decaying leaves, empty fields, half-finished dreams.
After a year and a half of slow recovery, your husband’s health has still not returned to normal.
You are trying to potty train your son today and it’s not exactly a walk in the park.
Your strong-willed child, though sweet and charming, can be a challenge to nurture and train.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Yet I say it again. Today is as good as it gets.
How? How is that true?
Because life is never going to be perfect. Never.
And I have it so, so good. Right now there is so little I need. So little I could ask for.
That’s not to say I’m NOT asking for things. Because I am. I’m human and too often ungrateful and discontented and before I know it I’m asking for all kinds of things.
Not necessarily aloud but asking all the same.
I’m asking for a bigger house with more storage space. I’m asking for perfect health for my husband. My whole family, really.
I’m asking to please just be done potty training already and could my daughter just magically outgrow those habits that I really have no clue how to change.
I’m asking for (well, dreaming of anyway) more help around the house and yard and less responsibility in the unpleasant, difficult areas.
I’m asking for new clothes, a bunch of books, some shrubs and landscaping, new paint and trim, more spending money. The list goes on.
But you know, when I stop and take stock, I know the truth.
This is the good life. This is a blessed life.
A life that millions would love to have.
We have so much.
A happy family, a good marriage. A healthy son and daughter. A home of our own on land of our own. A free country, a quiet community.
Access to excellent health care and a private Christian school. Peace in our hearts, a church home, Christian brothers and sisters.
Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and dear friends who share common values and live nearby.
Plenty of food and water and all our necessities supplied. A dependable income, our own business and plenty of work.
Sure, my life isn’t perfect. This isn’t Heaven after all.
And I’m sure there will be future days of greater clarity and deeper joy than today: occasional bursts of intense gratitude and happiness that surpass the rather ordinary moments in today.
But what I see now is that the big picture – the major framework of my life – could not be much improved on in this life.
Though future seasons may bring a bigger house, better health, or whatever it is, something else might be missing.
Something I hold dear – a friend or family member, a way of life, privileges I now take for granted. I’m getting older, we’re all getting older and there are no guarantees about anything.
I can’t foresee the future but I don’t need to to understand that what I’ve got right now is amazing just the way it is.
It’s not a feeling. It’s a choice. Many days may feel more memorable than this one.
But if I choose to give the missing pieces of my life to God and actively embrace gratitude, these days are going to add up to a memorable life, the kind of memorable I’ll love to relive.
It’s time I quit asking for the final missing pieces of perfection and instead practice greater thankfulness in the small, already beautiful moments of the here and now.