The lesson of the sticky “n”

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You ever feel like you are trying too hard? I have a dozen drafts of blogs, on all kind of topics that are important to me, that I’ve started and stopped. Even this morning I am discombobulated, this blog is in its fourth or fifth iteration. I’m melancholy this Christmas Eve. Though it’s not yet Eve.  The sun hasn’t even risen.

I’ll stop arguing with myself and just settle on today is December 24. I just read today’s passage in “Courage to Change” and it resonated. I pasted Emerson’s quote above. I remembered how upset I was when I went to bed last night. I pounded my fists on the keyboard in frustration, because of which this morning I was greeted with a sticky “n”.

Ugh! This is a George Bailey moment. I ask God for help, and I get a sticky “n” in return. Is that his answer? You know a lot of words contain n. Think of Wheel of Fortune or hangman, n is almost always the first pick, a front-runner for sure. Look at the quote above. It starts with the letter n and it also ends the author’s name.

What is this sticky ‘n’ on my keyboard trying to tell me? Am I supposed to subtract n, for the year to come? What if no didn’t exist? What if:

  • Nothing is something or anything?
  • No is yes?
  • Not is can?

What does that life look like then? In a world absent nothing, no and not, I could lose the word angst, right? I wouldn’t be angry about an internal or external argument because I would be busy accepting and living, instead of resisting and fighting.

That is a novel idea. Just like in improv classes, we are taught to say yes and have fun.  Jeff is teaching us acceptance and flexibility. When we accept the scene and let it flourish, the end product is funnier and more fabulous.

Emerson is right. In my case, all the yoga and improv, and running and walking the dogs will not bring me peace. Only I can do that. And that starts with acceptance. I started writing an hour ago, upset about last night, truly feeling betwixt and between, melancholy about the holiday, and an array of other things, all combined made me feel miserable. Stopping now and looking at each thing individually, if I pluck one petal at a time, like a daisy, and accept each thing as it is, I’ll find peace because God’s love is infinite.

Picture of the Holy Family in series at St. Mary of Perpetual Help, by Karen Craven
Picture of the Holy Family, at St. Mary of Perpetual Help, Chicago, by Karen Craven

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Eckhart Tolle

Acknowledging and accepting what we have; isn’t that what this day is about? A savior was born in a manger on Christmas Eve because his parents didn’t say no. Mary and Joseph didn’t cut and run. They didn’t resist, they humbly accepted the scene as God presented it, and what a gift they gave us.

It’s not easy to not resist, but I am going to try. I am going to try my hardest to subtract “n” from my response and choose yes, and can.

Thank you to every person in my life who shared in moments this past year that brought me peace and happiness, and a whole lot of humility, all of which I wish to you this Christmas, through next year, and in the years to come.

Merry Christmas Eve!

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