Recently our family went through a really rough season as my husband looked for a new job. Each day felt worse than the last; the light at the end of the tunnel just kept getting smaller and smaller. It was hard to fully enjoy the rare good day because we knew that the next day would bring its hardships crashing down on us. More discouraged and sad each day, I felt we would be waiting an indefinite amount of time before we could celebrate anything, much less reaching that elusive light at the end of the tunnel.
During all the heaviness of this season, it seemed as though my husband and I weren’t exactly on the same page. We had both become very spoiled from years of “same page”-ness and being “off” just made things harder.
One afternoon as I was playing in the backyard with our kids, my husband called to say that he had reached a gut-wrenching decision to turn down a possible job opportunity. Although it was hard, for the first time in a while we both felt that it was the right decision to make. The “end” was still just as hopeless, but for that day—for that one hour even—we both were clear on ONE thing and my heart was overjoyed. I hadn’t experienced clarity in weeks, and it was such a breath of fresh air. I felt so great in fact that I decided to stop right then to celebrate.
I texted a friend who lived in my neighborhood and pretty much demanded that she come over and celebrate our moment of clarity while my kids napped. She biked over, and I set up our little party.
It was an unusually warm day and we still had a couple of boxes intact from unpacking, so I turned one upside down in the middle of our backyard and covered it with an oversized, plain dishtowel. I gathered leftover cheeses and wine from a wine and cheese night we had at home the night before, along with some Aldi pretzels to munch on. I laid out my yoga mat, and right there in the middle of the backyard we had ourselves a wine and cheese picnic.
Later that night, reality came crashing back down. We had many more tough days and unclear decisions ahead of us, but that little afternoon celebration fueled my soul. I vowed on that day that we would celebrate the little victories when they came, because otherwise we might never get to celebrate.
And that we did.
Our celebrations took various forms. Sometimes it felt a little half-hearted, but once we were surrounded by our friends, laughing and having a good time, it didn’t seem as important what we were there to celebrate. These tiny celebrations kept pushing us to have good nights, to pursue friendship, to put our sadness on hold for an evening and let our souls breathe.
Celebrating, even when you’re grasping at straws for what exactly it is to celebrate, keeps you sane and grateful. There were nights when I thought I might lose my mind with anxiety. Celebrating the tiny things, however, reminded me that God was still working in our lives and blessing us, which kept me believing that if He could bless us in “small” ways, then surely He had even bigger celebrations planned for our future.
When all else failed us, we could always celebrate Christ—He is constantly worthy of our praise. Stopping to celebrate with praises and songs always left us with an air of hope. Celebration lifts your head and moves you forward, and that’s why even in the worst times, we’ve found that celebrating is a must.
A few circumstances in our lives have changed now, but we still aren’t quite to that light at the end of the tunnel. We are still waiting for a few tangible changes to come to fruition, but we feel absolutely revitalized because of this habit of celebration. We’ve trained ourselves to acknowledge small and unique blessings with gratitude, so now the “medium”-sized blessings feel enormous.
For an outsider looking in on our life, it might seem crazy for us to be so elated about the transitional stage of life we are currently in, but I hope and pray that we keep this crazy celebratory outlook on our life. A celebration-seeking mind has led to an attitude of thankfulness which I pray overflows and blesses those around us.
If you are in a phase of life that doesn’t feel exactly celebratory, consider yourself a treasure hunter on the lookout for buried treasure in the wilderness. You will find it; I promise it’s there, no matter how small. Have hope and be encouraged! Unlike the obvious milestones, the celebration of tiny, hard-sought treasures will change the rest of your life.