One Beautiful Thing

March is my birthday month, and I have something special I want to ask for from all of you who read (frequently or infrequently) my blog. Yes, I am asking you for a birthday present!

What I want is simple: I want you, in the month of March, to buy yourself One Beautiful Thing.

I firmly believe in William Morris’s maxim: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Now, I never quite get there, but I try. I realized recently that I am missing some of the beautiful things that I used to have.

I used to have African violets in the house, but they perished during one move or another and I never replaced them. They’re beautiful little flowers and I love them, and I am going to buy myself a pot of them and put it on my kitchen window shelf. It’s NOT an expensive proposition, maybe $5? But I will have something beautiful that I love sitting on my shelf and I can look at them and feel happier.

So, please, for the sake of sentimental soon-to-be 41 year old women, use this March as an opportunity to bring a little beauty into your life. Maybe it’s a picture for the wall, maybe a pot of flowers, silk or real, perhaps a throw for the couch that’s in a gorgeous shade of your favorite color. Whatever it is, splurge on it and make your life a little happier this spring.

February, isn’t that the one that comes in like a lion?

So, yeah, it’s been a cold blustery and rough week here. Not just life itself, although that’s been crazy, but the actual weather as well.

Okay, let’s be honest, I live in Texas. Everyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon line is now laughing bitterly and hysterically as they research new snowblower prices. But, hey, for an Arizona bordertown girl, this is cold– it’s going to be 31 tonight and I’ve got a brand-new batch of baby chickens in my frigid garage under a heat lamp. So I’m padding out to check on them in my slippers and freezing my beak off, so to speak.

Of course, it’s supposed to be 71 on Saturday and 80 by Sunday. So, yes, I’m far luckier than anyone in Siberia.

Unfortunately, February also came in with a wave of illness that’s been keeping all my little boys under the weather. I knew something was coming down the pike last week, when my 5 year old, the Tank, suddenly had his behavior go all to hell. That’s one of the first signs, typically, that he’s going to have a flare of his fever disorder. Since he’s been in remission for the past 10 months, it’s now one of those anxiety-provoking signs– is it another flare or is it just a cold? You can’t tell until the symptoms start.

This time, it was just a virus of some sort. It’s been a lingering nasty one, though– all of the 3 little boys have been feverish off and on for a week, runny noses and mild coughs, red cheeks, and the usual malaise and muscle-joint aches that any fever gives you. The Ninja’s fever has actually been the highest, running 102-103 for a couple days. The Tank has been napping during the day, which he hasn’t done in years. It takes a rotten virus to take him down, and I’ll be glad when it’s finally over with. Cross your fingers that the teenagers and my husband don’t get it, too. My older daughter and I are already sick.

Homeschooling has been cancelled for the past couple days, because who wants to face math fact families when you’ve got a headache and a fever?

Heck, I don’t want to face it at all and I’ve been only mildly ill.

Anyway, I’ve been reading through some of those self-help books that have such a glitteringly bad reputation. I was feeling pretty good about my progress with some of the issues I’ve been dealing with . . . and then I ran up against a vein of resentment in myself that was shockingly bitter and fresh and un-dealt-with. So I’ve been chewing that over for the past two weeks, trying to figure out a way to dig all these rotten feelings and hurts out so that I can flush those mental wounds and move on.

If that isn’t mixing your metaphors, well, I don’t know what is.

But, the point is that I was actually feeling like I was making progress in forgiving myself for some things and forgiving some other people for some things, and then a simple stupid Facebook post just humbled me in an instant. How the heart and mind can hold on to such grievances for decades is beyond me– doesn’t there come a point when you just get over this stuff without working at it? I don’t guess there is. All of these hurts and resentments have to be dealt with, one by one, and I’m not enjoying it much. Mostly because I have to deal with the fact that, even when I was a child and it was adults who were hurting me, I was still guilty of a lot of bad juju myself. I formed the resentments and held on to them. And I carried them into adulthood and used them to hurt people myself.

So, yeah, I can probably give myself a pass for the stuff I did as a kid, but the stuff I did as an adult is all on me. Goodness knows that I dodged around all the help various people tried to give me over the years.

I’m trying to get a handle on living with joy. I’ve found out that “joy” and “resentment” can’t co-exist. So I’ve got to get rid of all that rotten miserable pain that’s still claiming a portion of my heart and mind.

It hurts. Just looking at it straight-on is painful.

But then I have to ask myself if I want to keep on hoarding the wounds and holding on to my misery for another three decades, or if I can just lay that burden down and move on to a better life. And I want that better life so badly, people. I really do. I want the joy, I want the love, I want the peace.

So that’s my February so far. I hope it goes out like a lamb . . . or, really, like the Ninja, who just had his First Reconciliation . . . washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Yeah, that would be good.