Originally printed December 22, 2015, we now have a surprising update.
During the holiday season, we all seem to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We rush from one store to another gathering up gifts, food and decorations we think we need to turn our home into a holiday retreat.
Just one more ornament for the tree. One more scented candle for the table. One more casserole, one more gift, and one more strand of lights for the porch. Just one more ... and we will be able to rest and enjoy the holidays.
Saturday night, after a particularly busy day at work, I managed to squeeze in a holiday party my husband and I were invited to. We arrived an hour late, but, we made it! Yes. We will finally be able to relax and enjoy good conversation with some good people. Except for one thing ...
I was still wound up from an extremely busy work day and found it hard to relax. I was constantly checking my phone and replying to emails all while I sat at a holiday party in a room full of friends. Here was the time I was waiting for. The time when I would be able to sit and relax. It was the moment that was going to make all my hard work pay off and I would be able to do whatever floated my boat. To relax.
My husband pointed out that I was being rude, but, I could not help it. It was hard for me to go from a crazy wild work day/week/month to just sit, relax and enjoy not having to do anything. However, as the night went on, I found myself easing into the group conversation and looking less and less at my smart phone.
It was good to just sit around and share in the fellowship of friends. We discussed movies, food, each others children and our jobs. We told funny stories and laughed. We even discussed what I should write about in my upcoming column. Then, Cindy Sams suggested I write about how busy this time of year is. But it was not clear to me how I could tell such a story and how it fit into the mysteries of life.
Then I shared with the party goers a holiday story about a dear friend of ours, John Brown, when it hit me. This is a life is mysterious event. I will now share it with you.
We have known John Brown for many years and he is a shining example of someone who knows how to live in the moment. Whether he is working or socializing, John always seems to be having fun. He often volunteers and has been the moving force behind a lot of musical events in town. I guess it could be said that he does whatever floats his boat.
Well, last year my husband and I, at the urging of John Brown, bought an antique boat from my mother-in-law. It is a wooden boat that looks much like the boat made famous from the 1970’s sitcom Gilligan’s Island.
The plan was for my husband and John to use the boat in the upcoming Christmas parade. They would decorate it and use it as a float. They, of course, would be standing in the boat singing and waving to the crowd.
The boat would temporarily reside at John’s house while they worked on it. There was just one problem with their plan. John’s house had no garage nor any shelter to put the boat in while they awaited the big event.
Upon waking, the day of the parade, John Brown realized that it had rained the night before and now the boat was filled with water. There was no way he and my husband would be able to stand in the boat without getting soaking wet and possibly sick. So John Brown did the only thing he could think of doing ... drilled holes in the boat.
When my husband and I first heard what happened we thought it was a joke. Surely John did not drill holes in the boat! We quickly realized that the joke was on us. Yes, indeed, there are now holes in the boat.
The rest of the day went off without a hitch. John and my husband had a wonderful and fun day waving to people from the back of the now dry and forever land locked boat.
Whenever we tell this story people laugh and then they ask us if we were mad. No. The thought of being mad never crossed our mind. Amused is more like it.
In fact, we have had more joy and laughter over the thought of John drilling holes in our “new” old boat than we ever would have had if we had taken the boat out to water.
So, in closing, during this extremely busy season, I want you, the reader to know that if I could do whatever floated my boat, I would rather sit landlocked on an island with a boat full holes and with family and good friends like John Brown than be adrift on the water without them.
So, for the rest of this season, I am going to make sure I take more time to relax and enjoy what really matters. If I am one holiday decoration short or one casserole shy, it will not matter, because what really matters is being present for the ones we love.
I recommend that everyone drill holes in your boat, sit landlocked and enjoy the people around you. After all there may be holes in our boat but there are no holes in the friendship or love we share with others.
Update ... Six years after I originally wrote this story, the forever landlocked antique wooden boat now sits permanently anchored in our backyard and is being used and loved as a playhouse by our grandchildren. As it turns out, the holes serve a functioning purpose of keeping the inside of the boat dry when it rains. Talk about serendipity.
Yes, life is mysterious.