I did something this past weekend that I wasn’t allowed to do for years. I made the choice, and I stand by it wholeheartedly. Call me crazy, but this year I’m embracing the moments that bring me joy because I know the power and sway the gray has had in too many of my days recently.
I put up my Christmas tree. Yep, you read that right. As of Sunday, November 3, my Christmas tree is proudly displayed in my living room, and my kids each have their small trees up in their rooms. And, you know what? It’s okay. The sky isn’t falling. The earth isn’t going to swallow me whole. And, I’m most definitely still enjoying the Thanksgiving season as well.
Here’s the thing — the past few months I’ve struggled through some of the darkest days I have ever felt. The lows have been excruciating, the grays have honestly been dark and stormy some days, and the waves have felt suffocating. I battled within myself for a long time to call it what it was — depression. That wasn’t a word I was used to in my vocabulary. It wasn’t a feeling I could easily identify or accept. I wasn’t a person that got depressed! I powered through, pulled up the boot straps, faced the feelings and got over them.
But, guess what? I was failing myself in the healing process. I was trying to overcome my hurts and darkness by telling myself that powering through was the way to wholeness. I believed the lie that it wasn’t okay to not be okay.
This past month, I’ve been working on embracing it — the gray, the color, the ups, the downs. All of it. In several of our recent conversations, Ben has reminded me to embrace the moment right where I am. Feel all of it, process all of it, and continue to heal through all of it.
So, what does that have to do with putting my Christmas tree up on the third day of November? This is my third year where I split the holiday season with my ex-husband. Due to schedules this year, my children won’t be in my home for several weeks in December. They will be spending time with their dad, and that’s a good thing! But, it also means our time for memory making at my house is smaller than homes with two parents and time that doesn’t have to be split.
As I navigate through some of these gray days, the moments that bring me joy have become even more life-giving. I can’t tell you the actual physical calm that stole over me as I laid on my couch in the dark Sunday evening with only the light of my tiny, apartment-sized pencil tree to grace the room. “Alexa, play instrumental Christmas music,” were the only words I spoke for a solid 45 minutes as I just enjoyed the simplicity of the moment. It was joyful, life-giving, and full of color.
So, this season, give yourself permission to embrace your moments — whatever they may be. But, also give yourself permission to step outside the box sometimes in pursuit of joy in the gray. If you decide you need to put up your Christmas tree in November, go for it. I promise the world won’t implode.