Simple Gifts…

I made an observation last night as I was sitting in our dining room with some old friends who stopped by.  We talked and laughed.  We learned about how the holidays were taking shape within each of our respective lives.   It was lighthearted.  But I knew that there was a lot missing from our conversation.  One of our comrades had recently lost a parent, two others were in the throes of job searches, still another had recently chosen to undergo cosmetic surgery.   One was exhaling – thankfully exhaling – since an adult child who had previously struggled with substance abuse was in a good place.  Blessedly.

914976_25453992_christmas_starThe gap in the narrative between what we chose to say or not say last night reminded me of one of the fundamental lessons I’ve taken from transition – engaging ourselves.  I’ve learned that we get to choose how much of ourselves we engage.  I’ve also learned how important it is to be mindful of this choice.

Long time readers may remember a story I told early on.   It was about a gifted youth minister from my town who gives teens a simple gift at the conclusion of an annual high school program that he runs.   The gift?  A raw light switch. By “raw” I mean just picked out of a bin at Home Depot.   It is a switch with wires hanging out and all components visible.  No packaging.  With the switch, this gentleman tells teens that the decision is theirs: they can either choose to turn it on or leave it off.

I love the imagery of the switch.  You can go through your life perfectly well without ever turning your switch on.   You can be successful in this off setting. You can achieve many things.  You can have a wonderful family.  You can meet and exceed expectations at work or in the community.   But all of this doing and achieving and giving might be a safe distance away from exposing the unique, rich, incredibly valuable you.

I am incredibly grateful for what I’ve learned in the process of trying to narrow that gap between on and off for myself.   It has given me the courage to bring voice to a topic that I care deeply about.  It has challenged me to learn and grow and understand in ways that I never thought possible.    It has introduced me to new friends and deepened my connections to those who’ve been right there by my side all along.  It has brought me incredible energy and peace.

This holiday season I hope that you take a quiet moment to think about engaging yourself as you run around after crisply tied bows or favorite foods or anxious kids.   That simple gift of time may be the most valuable gift you give this season.

Warmest wishes to you and your families for a safe and happy holiday season.  Thank you for your willingness to walk with me through this incredible year. Linda R.

Your Gift – 2014

A Gift for you This Holiday – 2013

Yuletide Greetings – 2012

Leading with Gratitude – 2011

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2 responses to “Simple Gifts…

  1. Beautiful post, Linda. Merry Christmas!

  2. Linda-

    LOVED this post…. Happy holidays to you! I am 3 weeks into the new job…. People are amazing… so committed to this transition process….

    Let’s catch up sometime in January.

    All my best,

    Irene

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