Keep it simple, Lindsey. KEEP IT SIMPLE. How does one complicated human living in a complicated world accomplish this?
The three words are on a coffee mug my cousin gave me last Christmas. It’s slowly become my favorite mug to drink from every morning. I need this reminder each morning. Especially my complicated head and heart that I wake up to every day. I worry. I am fearful. I overanalyze. I want perfection... for myself, my kids, my life. Yet perfection is a goal that is unattainable and harmful.
Our world is complicated. Our relationships are complicated. Our jobs are complicated. Our lives are complicated. I am overwhelmed and have a love-hate relationship for Pinterest, the internet, Amazon, iPhones, the number of grocery stores to choose from. Our world is complicated and it is no wonder my mind is complicated.
So how do I keep it simple?
When I reflect back on last Thanksgiving, all I really remember is the simplicity of the day. Yes, I was as equally worried as Mike was sick. Yes, I wanted things to be different. Yes, I wanted to be cooking and baking in the kitchen with my mom while Mike helped fry turkey. Yes, I wanted to be fixing plates for my kids who would likely eat half a bite and be ready for pie and desserts. I wanted it so bad it hurt. My heart was pulled on whether to sit by Mike's side or whether to be home helping with the kids. In my head things were anything but simple.
My heart was in two places, and yet as one human, it was physically impossible to be two places. Like I always tell the kids - I have two hands and wish I could grow ten more. God made us simply with two hands and that’s not a super power I have.
But that wasn’t God's plan for me and Mike that day. Instead we sat in the room with beeping IV pokes, fears on a level I never knew existed, unbelievable rashes and turkey selfies.
But I simply stayed with Mike. I honestly didn’t know if this would be our last Thanksgiving together. Cancer. It does that to you. But when you change your perspective it also gives you that gift of being ever present to every moment in the day.
His mom and dad brought us some of our favorites dishes.
Although I don’t remember how they tasted, and it's doubtful Mike does either... I remember then, and even more now, how thankful I was.
We were loved. I had so much time to reflect that day. So much time to simply sit and pray. To sit and be thankful. I remember Mike, as miserable as he was, would make himself get up and walk, and We would walk all the way down from the 6th floor to the lobby of the hospital and down all the way across the bridge. I would look to the streets and cars passing by as life went whirling by around us, and I would just pray.
We had been ripped of the chance to decide where to spend the holiday - and every single holiday at that - this past year. Cancer made that choice for us.
We were forced to keep it simple.
I am realizing as the choices come back in our lives, we can still choose to keep things simple. Live day-by-day. That’s how God expects us to, anyway. If one year is different, it’s ok. Listen - that was a hard reality for me 8 years ago, as I did not want to change traditions when Mike and I were first married.
Don’t wait for cancer to grip your life to keep things simple. It’s possible now.
This Thanksgiving, the word thankfulness does no justice and does not suffice.
I watched the kids play at the camp where Mike spent countless hours when he was their age. Seeing Mike at home where his roots were formed is where I fell in love with him in the first place. The simple outdoors. God's country. A day where time stopped and we were able to simply be together.
I breathed and let it sink in. I thanked God for the miracle of Mike being able to be here today, making memories. I cherish every single memory made. Some days I questioned whether this day would have ever existed.
Live life as if everything is a Miracle, instead of nothing. It helps. As I held my so innocent two-day-old nephew, I was instantly reminded of this miracle we are as humans. It’s easy to forget that.
When we put the kids to bed that night, they asked for a story. While bored with mine, Mike told them about how he played at the camp almost every day as a boy. I thanked God for this simple moment. Allowing us to have this Thanksgiving together.
I’m MOST thankful for our last Thanksgiving at Emory.
It gave me perspective. It taught me how to keep it simple. To always be thankful first.
And to be thankful for where ever you are.