The end of January is quickly approaching, but there’s still time to sneak in a New Year’s resolution, and I think I’ve finally come to a decision on mine.
Drink more champagne.
I mean that more as a mindset than as a dietary rule.
For Christmas this year, my father-in-law Jack gave me a set of stemware – four champagne bowls and six water goblets. My normal reaction to receiving an odd number set of crystal might have been confusion. We’re not fancy dinnerware people (due to having kids who know how to break stuff), and we barely use the stemware we picked out for our own wedding registry. I realized we didn’t even get them down from the cupboard this Christmas, which is the one occasion we traditionally use them.
But these glasses were special. These were the beautiful Lalique Phalsbourg glasses that my mother-in-law Pamela had chosen for their wedding crystal. Pamela died of ovarian cancer in 2007, and these glasses were some of the last of her very special things to be claimed or distributed.
Jack suggested that maybe I could look at a site like Replacements.com to fill out the set, or maybe they would make a good gift for future Christmases. I checked it out and quickly discovered how special Pamela’s crystal was, and why she had received so few as wedding gifts. At over $200 per glass, my first instinct was to wrap them tightly back in the bubble wrap and put them in a dark cupboard where they wouldn’t be broken.
But that’s not what Pamela would have done. Pamela was the type of person that knew how to appreciate – and use – fine things. She didn’t choose expensive things because they were expensive, but she did enjoy a few beautiful things that made her heart sing, whatever the price. (Just ask Jack.)
She used these Lalique glasses with the bubbly, festive pattern etched into the stems on many occasions that I remember, because she was not a person to whom there was an “unspecial” occasion. Every dinner was a dinner party, and every meal offered something to toast.
I see celebration as a combination of two states of mind: gratitude and joy. Gratitude is the recognition that you’ve been given something special – perhaps something you didn’t deserve. And joy is the choice to let peace and happiness rule your heart rather than fear.
I work in an industry that is extremely unstable and very often driven by fear. Normal jobs last one to three months at a time, promises are broken, and rejection and success sometimes both hit you on the same day. “No’s” come often and “Yesses” – when they come – are drawn out and belabored, or packaged as mixed blessings. It’s hard to know when it’s okay to celebrate.
The Bible says that the enemy of our souls purposes to steal our joy. Stealing joy doesn’t always mean taking away joy you have. Often times we just don’t allow ourselves to feel that joy because of the “what ifs.” What if it isn’t real? What if it falls through? Sometimes joy is stolen by our own inflated expectations. We thought it was going to be huge, but it was only really big. And instead of celebrating really big, we’re disappointed with it. And there goes our joy.
Just last week, my husband and I were told “yes” on an opportunity that we were really excited about. It wasn’t locked in, no contracts were signed, but we decided we were going to celebrate anyway. In times past we would have waited, but we were determined not to let the opportunity pass. We took our kids out for a fun dinner and enjoyed the moment. The next day, the offer was in question, and after a week of anguishing over the outcome, the offer was rescinded.
But that didn’t change the fact that the dinner was really tasty, or that we laughed a lot with our kids. Those are memories that will last. I can’t allow the bad news to steal the joy of those moments away, or make me too fearful to create them. And when the right opportunity comes to replace the one we lost, we’ve upped the ante, so we’re really going to have to celebrate.
We’ll be even more grateful. We’ll be bursting with joy. We’ll celebrate by breaking out Pamela’s glasses for a toast. This year I will resolve to use them often.