I consider myself a pretty contented person. I love my family, our home, our lifestyle. Eric and I have a strong marriage. I think I have a good eye for decorating. I think we did well when we painted and hung pictures. I am pleased with our red leather sofa & chairs. The outer trappings of my life look ok. The kids are working hard on their schoolwork and making progress. God is on His throne and all is right in my world.
And then, the mail arrives.
This time of the year, The Catalog shows up just about every two weeks. I know I should just take a stand and toss it. But the flesh is weak. As I turn the pages, I see a dozen things I MUST HAVE.
And my contentment flies out the window.
Everything is shiny and new and perfect. Entertaining is clean and stress-free. Christmas becomes a perfect postcard instead of a holiday. AND IT IS REALLY TEMPTING!
The truth is, if I tried to replace our Christmas stockings and the stocking holders with these fabulous shiny ones, my entire family would pitch a fit. I get it. No one loves our traditions more than I do.
But The Catalog holds the promise of a better, cleaner life. Without dirty dishes or dust. The holidays are portrayed as perfect and the entertaining effortless. I think to myself, "if I only had THESE I would have perfect peace." That's not what scripture says, nor is it true. Ah, but for a moment....
It takes just a beat longer than it needs to for me to remember that in the perfect world of The Catalog, there is no real life. Those stockings do not represent real people the way ours do. No one will be tearing open those gifts or eating those candy canes. There will be no squeals of delight or thank-yous in Catalog World. It is a stylists idea of perfection and, I remind myself, it is not real. And I know for a fact I do not really want that flawless, sterile, perfect world.
I am pleased with my authentic life, warts and all. But in a couple of weeks, The Catalog will show up again in my mailbox singing it's siren song. And I will visit that place of stress-free perfection once again.
But I won't live there.