Friday, December 7, 2018

Confessions of An Ungrateful Heart

Sitting comfortably in my home, I was looking online at Zillow, I had recently been to Monroe, Georgia, a beautiful town. Being in a children's storybook store and a cozy coffee shop had made me curious to browse for houses in the area. Wouldn't it be fun to be a drive away from this quaint little town?

As I scrolled quickly through the houses I stopped on the most beautiful house.The house was a white colonial on a beautiful lawn setting in a neighborhood where the trees are lined along the street. I remembered Mike and I loved that particular neighborhood years before our children were born.

The price was actually something we could afford now and immediately I lost myself. I envisioned myself with my family in that new home.

When my husband Mike saw the home he also wanted to look through its pictures multiple times over the week. Then we decided to take a drive to go look at it. I personally thought maybe this will help us clear our minds, maybe if we just see the home in person, we won't want to be in it. We all know pictures don't always tell the whole story, so we took a drive as a family to see the home in person.

The visit did NOT help.

It was more beautiful in person than in the pictures and we both drove away with the feeling that maybe our own home wasn't good enough and maybe this could be our new home.

So the next couple weeks we started to think about ways we could be in this house. The housing market was good and we knew we could get a good profit for our house.

I started thinking we had been in our home for 13 years and maybe it was time to move, as many of our friends had done.

Our current home was the house of my previous dreams. A cute cape cod, with a wrap around porch. The house I told Mike I wanted to raise our children in long before we even had the thought of children. The house I once saw myself retiring in, growing old with my husband.

And in moments, ALL of that disappeared, the colonial hit my eyes and I allowed it to do something that only I could do...I allowed my heart to be ungrateful.

 I started to see what I didn't have for a taste of time and what I could have.

I could have Better.
I could have More.
I could have That home.

I wondered what it would look like to pull into that driveway each day.

What would the holidays be like in that home, wouldn't it be so beautiful to host guests.

How had this mind change happened and so fast?

Mike and I have been so good over the years at keeping focused on what is most important.

My one word this year has been Present. This word has helped me become more present in each moment and focus on who is most important instead of what is most important. Remembering that I need to think about People versus Stuff.

Here I was being the exact opposite of my one word by pining to be in another home when I should be grateful I own a home. A home that was once my dream. A dream Mike and I had prayed for and worked hard to purchase.

Those few weeks of wanting brought feelings I hadn't felt in a long time. It brought old feelings of anxiety and it made my heart unpeaceful. It brought out feelings that I wasn't good enough when for years I had accepted who I was and had peace with myself.

It wasn't until Mike and I sat down weeks later that I decided to let the home go.

I heard the girls playing in their room while I was in the kitchen. Then they started to play in the living room and strolled their baby dolls down the hallway to be with me. All of a sudden every reason I could think to own the colonial house became undesirable and my own home became a wonderful reality.

I realized the girls could never be heard in the new home as it was a two story and the girls would be playing far from the kitchen. I wouldn't be able to hear their sweet songs and imaginary games like I can now.

Mike's parents who are right outside our neighborhood would be further away and our school commute which is under 10 minutes would triple. Even seeing my own mother would be less often as she would have to drive further for each visit.

I thought about how we had prayed for all our neighbors and how the street we lived on was so safe, peaceful, and friendly, knowing many of our neighbors by name. Even on Halloween, we get to go into many homes to share a story before stepping back outside.

The last thing I thought of was how the yard was so beautiful and the amount of upkeep this would take. Mike does most of the yard work and I envisioned him working many days on that yard while we missed out on time with him. Would we even allow the girls to do what they normally do outside, digging holes or making trails or would we feel the need to keep everything pristine?

This was Not what I wanted for my life, this is Not what I valued. This is Not who I am.

No home is who you are, so I decided to let it go.

I thanked God for the opportunity to see myself in another light, a light I didn't like and I asked Him to help me be more giving, less selfish, and the kind of person who does not put their worth in their home, but their worth in their time with people. A person who sees what truly matters, not a person who tries to impress others with what they have.

It was not worth it.

I let it go.

So each day I pull into my home, the place I rest my head each night, I will be grateful for it.

I'm sorry that for a short time I forgot myself, but I'm glad it happened. It allowed me to see what greed can do to any heart,even one thought to be so protected. We can have this happen to us when we look out the window of our lives and think about what we don't have instead of looking at what is right in front of us.

Just because something is bigger or more beautiful does not mean it is better, everything comes with a price. The price might not be money, but it might be your time, your peace, or your presence.

A home is not who I am, but a place where I get to hold the people I love most dearly each day.

I challenge you this holiday season to think of what you're grateful for and focus on those things. When we see what has already blessed us and we have gratitude in our daily lives, we start to live differently than we did before.

May you be blessed this holiday season and be a blessing to someone else!

Alana Stanton
@stantonalana

Alana Stanton is a kindergarten and technology specials teacher at Mulberry Elementary in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She has taught several grades over her 14 year career including K-3 literacy special, first grade, second grade, and kindergarten. Alana believes that relationships always come first in the classroom and the classroom should be a place where students thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. She currently writes for her blog, More Than A Lesson where she shares the stories of her classroom and her heart.