Grateful Heart Monday

Well, it’s Monday, and time for another entry in the gratitude department. Today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to accomplishing the putting together of an outdoor Christmas display that’s bigger than any other year I’ve done ever, a feat I honestly didn’t initially think I could do or would even find any desire to do in the first place.

In past years I have done my best to put together some pretty decent Christmas displays outside for others to enjoy. I’ve often seen many cars slowly drive by to appreciate my finished product. But, this year the motivation to do it just wasn’t there. With the very recent loss of my young cat Smokey, the other tragic losses of my friends Brian, Keith, and Aaron, and my increased levels of physical pain, this had suddenly become the first year I wasn’t excited for the Christmas season whatsoever.

Yet, I’ve learned on my journey to recovery from addiction that sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other, act as if, and set your mind towards doing something, even when you don’t feel like doing it. In this case, this was the precise course of action I took to accomplish the very thing I didn’t really find myself driven to do this year.

So, on a Wednesday morning, about 10 days ago now, I set my alarm for 8am, woke up in pain as usual, put on my headphones, and walked outside into my garage where I slowly began opening up all the Christmas storage bins to start putting together the outdoor Christmas display.

I began on the roof of the house and continued with the garage next, lining both from front to back with multi-colored lights. I also hung our big lighted wreath in the front pinnacle of the house and positioned a motion projector on the pinnacle of the back garage as well. Next, I moved on to the first part of the fence that surrounds our entire front yard, adorning it with multi-colored lights as well. When I ran out of both energy and time, I had achieved the very thing I hadn’t thought possible that morning, that being the ability to even start doing a holiday display this year. And now that I had started, I felt a drive to keep going.

The next day began in the very same way, yet with a little more skip to my step so to speak. I continued working on the fence until I had it entirely strung with ornamental “X’s” of multi-colored lights. I then proceeded to wire it all together until I ran out of steam and time again, yet by then I felt that Christmas spirit slowly arising within me. The day after, I began to work on the approach to our front door and the garden edging around it, lining the approach and door with white lights and the garden edging with multi-colored lights. After completing this and wiring it all together, the thing I hadn’t thought possible just two days prior actually became possible, as I was now feeling the Christmas spirit.

On Saturday morning, I awoke with more excitement than the previous three mornings, and progressed into the next stage, which was putting out the 30+ lighted yard figurines, lighting the two ornamental trees in our front yard, and lining up the front projector and spotlight. Doing this phase of the outdoor holiday project always takes the most time, because honestly, I’m OCD and I rearrange everything countless times until it looks please to my OCD-based eyes! LOL! Anyway, 14 hours later, yes 14 hours, I had it all where I felt it needed to be and all lit up. The fact that I had lasted that long doing that amount of work was a feat and a record in itself for me.

And finally, for a few final hours on Sunday afternoon, five days after I had begun the project, I added some finishing touches with a few more lights strands down the front sides of both the house and the garage and added one more lighted figurine that had been purchased that morning to the display.

In the end, it took me approximately 40 hours of hard work to complete my outdoor Christmas display and I must say I’m far more excited for this holiday season now that it’s done and truly grateful that I didn’t let my self-pity, grief, and negativity prevent me from doing something that I had typically enjoyed doing in previous years.

So, yes, I have plenty of gratitude for overcoming my ego that most definitely didn’t want me to do the holiday decorating this year. But thanks be to God for helping me to push on through to complete a task that just over two weeks ago, I never thought would even happen, which is exactly why I felt it called for being today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson