Returning to Reality

Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”  – William Shakespeare

I have a confession to make:  I cry when I return home from road trips.  All those hours gazing out the car window, I’m free to imagine my perfect life . . . the country house surrounded by a wide circle of trees, the mirrored pond, the children’s book career.  Far away from the ordinary, driving past empty fields, everything seems possible.

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Then, we drive back into the big city, and the open, dreamy places close up.  The buildings crowd together.  The sirens ominously whine.  Our house, although still lovely and homey, is dirty because we left in such a rush after Christmas.  These familiar surroundings bring back the fear I felt before vacation because of the abrupt loss of two family friends.

Responsibility rains down.  I suddenly realize that my hubby, my beloved companion, will return to his daily life at work . . . away from me.  My children will return to their lives apart from me at school.  It is the feeling I felt during my teaching career when the weekend was over.  Why did the coming of Monday always surprise me?  Make me feel cold?

Curiously, the day after returning home, I’m okay again.  I’m busy cleaning up, doing laundry, getting my perspective back.

I look around and wake up to how good I have it:  a cozy kitchen with a laughing seven-year-old, a twelve-year-old obsessed with the Beatles, a husband who loves me even after I cry about all the great things he provides. All this and those dreamy vacation days, too!  My life is good.  Not perfect.  But GOOD!

I have to repeat this quotation to myself often:  “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.” – Anonymous

Gracious Lord, please forgive me for my lack of appreciation.  Thank you for this life you’ve given me!

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