This is an article I am writing for the Mukilteo Becon–for their weekly Worship Column. A little early, this will appear in the January 4th issue, but nevertheless, here are a few thoughts I’ve been pondering with the “resolution” hype underway.
I’ve heard the saying, “You can tell a lot about a person by their…shoes, or their dog, by the kind of car they drive, or what’s on their grocery list.” You can usually fill in this gap with just about anything. For whatever reason, I found myself wondering what we can discover about each other—by looking at the objects on our night stands, our bed side tables, or our dressers…?
My table is a square, oak table, with two shelves, stained with a rich, dark brown color to match my headboard. My father made the headboard and the night stands for my Hubs and I as a Christmas present a couple years ago.
The bottom shelf holds a Kleenex box and a pair of socks. The necessities. My feet often get cold in the middle of the night, and it’s always nice to have Kleenex handy; a lesson I’ve learned from my Grams.
The top shelf holds—closest to me—my cell phone, which doubles as my alarm clock. I don’t use a real clock; if I wake up in the middle of the night and see what time it is, I find it hard to go back to sleep—knowing how little time I have left. I seem to sleep a lot better not knowing what time it is.
I also have my glasses on the table, so I can see when I wake up to face the day. There’s also the usual bed-table lamp, nothing special, but it gives off a soft light.
I keep my journal on the table, along with my blue Bic pen. Good ideas or thoughts percolate throughout the day and I night I find myself with an unlimited amount of time to sort through thoughts and ideas and words and phrases or poems and musings.
But on the other side of the table I have a picture. It’s an old picture, taken when I was 9 years old. The picture is of my older brother and me with my Grandma and Grandpa. It’s the last picture the four of us had together before my Grandma passed away from her fight with cancer. Even at that age, I was really close with my grandparents and I still call my “Grampskie” [that’s what I call him] just to say, “Hi, and I love you.”
What always strikes me about the photo is the expression on each of our faces. Me being the youngest—and just happy to see Gramps and Grandma, I have a pretty happy smile. My older brother, probably more aware of the situation, has a smaller, slight smile on his face, as if covering up a sad face underneath.
Grandma’s face seems to be looking somewhere else, a place none of us can see. She seems distant, as if she knew this was our last good-bye.
Grampskie has his arms around all of us. One arm on my brother, one arm around me, he is standing behind my Grandma, as if he were embracing the entire scene. His eyes are wed and red, holding in the tears I remember coming after the picture was taken. Again, it seems like he knows more than he is saying.
I don’t exactly know why I have this particular picture on my night stand. The memory attached to this specific scene is not one of elation and sheer joy; it’s actually a more somber embrace of the moments in which we find ourselves.
But since we are now at that time of New Year’s Resolutions and reflecting on the past, looking to the future, this picture seems to fit somewhere in-between.
Life can leave us with tears of joy as we remember milestones, achievements, and accomplishments. It can also leave us breathless and without words, with grief and thoughts of farewell.
But we continue to change and grow, and we learn to embrace both the heartache and the joy—with the help of the arms of family and community surrounding us, and holding us.
The picture on my nightstand is one of family, love, and it is a brief snapshot into a larger story. It’s a simple image, but it holds depth and beauty for me.
What is on your nightstand? Or, your dresser, or desk, or writing table? Where do you find snapshots of your story? What little treasures hold deeper meaning for you?
In this time of new beginnings I find myself drawn to the idea of searching for beauty in places that seem ordinary and mundane; discovering life that has been buried or forgotten, waiting to be seen with new eyes. To what are you being drawn as the calendar signals a fresh start?
May you be drawn to the discovery of beauty, and to embrace this life each and every day.