Why showing up matters
Our good friend Bubba talks about how he always hated carving pumpkins. He didn't understand the fuss of the holiday and desperately wanted to check out of the process. Bubba would roll home after work and his wife, Cathy, would ask him to work with his two daughters on carving the family pumpkin.
To hear him tell the story, he would sit down begrudgingly, carve the face into the squash, and try to not let his bad attitude creep out.
Cathy would take pictures, the girls would be happy, and Bubba would be relieved that he could wait 364 days before doing that chore again.
Bubba didn't think about this painful process much for years.
However, after his daughter was grown and out of the house, Bubba wandered into her room and noticed she had exactly one picture up of him from her childhood, and it was of them working on a pumpkin together.
After all of the junk that came in and out of the room - all of the sports trophies, the posters, and the pictures with friends, pumpkin-carving was her favorite image with her dad.
When Bubba tells the story he still gets a little misty.
"I almost missed making this memory because I can be so selfish."
When he said this, I tried to argue him out of such a harsh ruling, but he wouldn't hear it.
"No," he said. "I didn't think about whether this was important to my daughter; I really just thought about the fact that I was tired, and I didn't feel like dealing with a gross pumpkin. I'm not good at carving. I didn't enjoy a bit of the process."
He treasures this picture now because in the image he sees the importance of showing up, being present, and staying engaged.
I love this story because it reminds me that extra effort, digging deep and trying - ESPECIALLY when we're tired - matters.
Not every activity (especially around the holidays) will bring us joy, but the benefits of moving toward relationships (rather than tasks) makes an impact we can't always see.
Sure, pumpkins rot away quickly, but the adventures linger.
Make some memories today!
And for your viewing pleasure, a little pumpkin carving magic!