I’m not sure when I started this practice, but I’ve done it for as long as I can remember — I do not write on the front page of a new notebook or journal — not even the back of that front page. The whole front page is always blank. At some point along the way I decided that when I opened my journal or notebook I didn’t want to see messy handwriting or maybe work I wasn’t proud of or a less than artistic drawing. I would rather there be nothing there, then it to be something I was less than proud of.
This is probably from some sort of perfectionism, but for me it also comes from my desire to use special or new things only for special occasions. The front page was special, what I was going to write was not special enough to merit that space.
This sounds a little odd, but I can’t be the only one (ok, I guess I could) who saves new shirts or outfits to wear until the right ‘special occasion’ comes along. After it’s been worn the first time it’s ok, but that first time needs to be special. Or saving the good silverware or dishes or the nice towels just for guests and other people. I have found this to mean they don’t get used.
Because the truth of the matter is, there may always be a more special occasion. We can always wait for a better day, more important guests, when we really feel good about ourselves to wear that one shirt… And the list goes on and we end up missing out on gratitude. Gratitude for the object, the people who gave it or who are involved, and gratitude for the day.
Because the thing is, life is a special occasion. We are told “This is the day that the Lord has made.” And our response is “We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Or some say, “Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” We are invited to live in gratitude, to rejoice in the day, but we won’t be dragged into it kicking and screaming.
What if we woke up with that reminder? What if we remembered that to be alive is a gift, and instead of always being on the look out for the best days, the important occasions, the special people, we create better days through our gratitude and joy.
Up until some point in college I wore pigtails on days I expected to be really great and also days I thought might be bad but where I was hoping for the best. My freshman roommate suggested that pigtails were not helping that fact that I looked like I was 12 and told me to wear a favorite outfit instead.
But you get the idea, maybe we wear that new shirt for a date night we’re looking forward to, or also that random Tuesday when we’re looking for joy in a hard week. Maybe we eat on the nice dishes after a long week when our family is the best company we could ask for. Maybe we live into gratitude on the slow days and the hard days because we choose to rejoice in the day God has made, even if circumstances don’t make the joy come naturally.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and it doesn’t have to be comparison with others for this to be true. Sometimes we need to not compare our special days with our normal days, or our old job with our current one, or how we feel today with how we feel yesterday. Maybe today, we live in gratitude for the special occasion that it is — today. Even if only for the reason that it is a day that the Lord has made, and we are invited to rejoice in it. That sounds like a pretty good invitation to me…