Something happened over the holidays that I wasn’t planning to share, but I’ve decided it must not be kept to myself. You see, lately I am getting a lot of messages from readers that say, “I am who you once were, but I don’t know if there is hope for me; I don’t know if I can change; I think it’s too late for me.”
Three and a half years ago, I said those same words to myself. In fact, when I began taking steps to let go of my distracted, perfectionistic, hurried ways I didn’t tell anyone for three months. Why? Because I thought change was not possible for me. I once believed I was too far gone to ever come back. But this past December 24th, I was powerfully reminded what I once believed was so wrong. Here is my story. May it reach someone who longs to believe change is possible. Believing is the first step.
We were supposed to leave the house in nineteen minutes. In my hand, I held my child’s holiday dress and her pretty tights.
“Honey, it’s time to wake up and get dressed for the Christmas Eve service,” I said gently to my seven-year-old daughter who was barely visible under a mound of blankets.
“I’m too tired,” she moaned without opening her eyes.
Two hours earlier I’d suggested she take a nap since we’d be up late, but now I was regretting it. My lethargic child looked as if she could sleep for several more hours.
“Come on, I’ll help you get dressed,” I offered.
She didn’t move a muscle.
This was not like her, but yet I was starting to feel agitated. “You can have two more minutes to rest, then it will be time to get up,” I firmly stated using a tactic that worked well with my former special education students.
After tidying up a few things around her room and glancing at my unusually put-together appearance in her mirror, I told my daughter it was time to get up now.
“I don’t feel good,” she cried.
I expelled a long, hot breath before speaking. “Mommy is trying to be patient with you, but I am starting to feel impatient,” I said honestly. “I’ll take you to the bathroom and then I bet you’ll feel better.”
At the pace of an elderly person with bad arthritis, she gingerly crawled out of bed and plopped down on the toilet.
“I will put on your tights right here,” I said knowing we needed to leave the house very shortly if we were going to get seats in the service.
“I don’t feel good,” she repeated once again—but this time the word “good” turned into one long wail. Her face crumpled in pain.
Three and a half years ago, this is when I would have lost it. This is when I would have gruffly shoved her feet into those tights and barked that we were going to be late. This is when thoughts of my own agenda, my own appearance, my own timetable, and my own demands would have overruled all else. This is when things would have gotten ugly.
But things are different now.