One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. Andy Rooney
My grandmother, Francis, was a tender yet fierce woman, born and raised in a small town in east Texas. She married my grandfather when she was 18, right before he left to fight in WWII, and she gave birth to her firstborn (my mom) while he was still on the front lines in Normandy. She wouldn’t see him again and he wouldn’t meet his daughter until a year later. She didn’t have an easy life, but she loved life. She loved dogs. She loved Chicken Fried Steak. She loved her family. She loved shoes. She loved Jesus. And she loved handbags.
Oh man, did she love a good handbag. It had to be leather, one with lots of pockets, a good zipper, and it had to have both short handles and a shoulder strap. A bag that met all of her specifications was not easy to find, so you can imagine my delight the year I found the perfect bag to give her for Christmas. It was very expensive, but it was perfectfor her so I had to get it. I went big, and I spent more money on her bag than on any other gift that year. I was so excited to give it to her, and even more excited for her to use it.
We celebrated for a few days, and eventually I made the 5-hour drive back to my home and life in Houston. I didn’t see my grandmother again until 7 months later when she was hospitalized due to a stroke. It’s no surprise that she and a girlfriend drove 45 minutes to eat their favorite Chicken Fried Steak earlier in the day. I love that. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end. A few months later, she passed away from complications due to a stroke.
Over the next few months, my mom and I had the task of clearing her home. We had to organize, purge and distribute her things to different family members. It was hard yet wonderful to celebrate her and remember her precious lifeas we handled all of her things.
As we were going through her bedroom closet, I removed a familiar box from the top shelf. I opened it to find perfectly flat, red and green wrapping paper, the same paper I used months earlier to wrap presents. It was folded and carefully placed on top of a beautiful, unused handbag – the handbag I had given her for Christmas.
She never used it.
I’ll never know for sure why she kept it in the box. The bag she had been using when she died was old and used, with worn leather, stains and broken threads. There was clearly justification to warrant a new one. Why would she continue to use an old battered one instead of the brand new one tucked away on the shelf?
I don’t know. But my guess is, she thought it was too special. It was too nice. She was saving it.
It was a gift to her. No one else had claim to that bag. It was perfect for her. Yet I think about how she could have been using that bag all those months – to run errands with her girlfriends…to go to church…to carry her bright pink lipstick and her swollen wallet stuffed with old receipts. She would have looked so beautiful with that bag on her arm.
The old one was familiar. It’s what she knew. She was saving the new one for another day. But that day never came. So there it sat, wrapped neatly in a box.
You can probably guess where I’m headed with this.
We have a tendency to just stick with the old, familiarpatterns of living and doing and thinking, with what we know, yet life offers us SO MUCH MORE! I’m not sure what is preventing you from living life to the fullest. Maybe you are waiting for the right moment. Maybe you are waiting for the right person or the right job, or the righttiming, or the right…whatever! You fill in the blank.
Life is such a gift. Don’t miss out on what is happening here, now. Stop waiting for something else and embrace what is right in front of you. And see it as good! As yours! Be grateful for all that you have and know you are loved.
This past week, my kids came with me to BeauCo while I taught Happy Hour. As we walked into the Beautique, my 8 year old son said, “I kind of like the old BeauCo better.” I giggled and thought, he’s a creature of habit. The Barn was familiar because he spent more time there. It’s what he knew. But then he said, “But this is cool. I think it will work.” We didn’t know we needed something different, something better, but here we are. And it’s perfect.
We are just a few days away from Christmas and a few more away from both a new year and decade. My hope for you (and me) is that we can be open to all that life has tooffer. If you’re open to it, chances are what is to come isbetter than some of the old, tattered patterns of past days and years.
Use the handbag for crying out loud!
I’m excited to see what this holiday season has in store for each of you.
Lots of love and a Merry Christmas from your friends at The Beau Collective!