I’m walking slowly, trying to appear casual, as if I’m not walking with a very intense purpose. My heart quickens, I feel myself bubbling up with excitement, I turn the corner and I see it.

The candle end cap at Target.

Unaware of the joys ahead, Sebastian is sitting in the front of the cart, flirting so conspicuously with the elderly woman behind me that other people around us probably think I let him watch the Bachelor post- nap.

I pick the candles up one at a time, taking a deep inhale and coughing when I come upon “bonfire smoke”.  Terrible idea.

It’s worth noting that a candle is not in the budget, Nor are the 7 other things in my cart. Nor is this entire visit necessary at all, but it’s Target. And it’s 4pm-5pm. Need I say more?

Everyone who knows anything knows that 4-5pm is the worst conceivable time in the world. It shouldn’t even exist.

I think wars probably start from 4-5pm. And hurricanes. And migraines. And everyone breaks up.

Seb is leaning out of the cart so far he’s practically suspended in mid-air, hell-bent on reaching a tempting apple cinnamon candle that he can smash on the red and white laminate.

I return the baby bird to the safety of his seat, and he kicks his legs and points to the lights above. “Da! DAAAAA!”

“That’s a light, Sebastian. Liiiight.” 

He lets out a scream of delight and kicks his legs in pure joy to be surrounded by so much activity to observe.

I put the candle back, and the tablecloth, and the wreath, and the crop top, and the sugar bowl (nah, I’m going to buy the sugar bowl), and the fake succulent.

What is it with stuff? It’s not going to fill me, it’s not going to magically make Sebastian stop ripping up all his favorite books and eating the pages.

Stuff isn’t going to make a long day shorter. Or parenting easier. Or my arms less tired from holding an active almost 1 year old.

I think because we moms, whether you are working or not, spend so much time within the walls of our home, we end up looking from one end of the house to the other, thinking of how to decorate and redecorate.

And then we leave our homes from a change of scene, and all of this stuff assaults our eyes and screams “I am Joanna Gaines approved, you MUST own me!”

The truth that is slowly blossoming inside of me is that I’m the same person with or without the things that surround me. My life will not change, my mood with still be my mood, and my teething baby is not affected by the wonderfully regrettable, singsong ding, ding, ding that reminds you to take your card out of the chip reader.

Because I am a flawed human person who’s heart was made from my Creator and Him alone, I will never be filled by anything on this earth, and I will always want more.

Is splurging and decorating and retail therapy all bad? Of course not, silly, says my allowance budget. But if I seek to possess from a place of searching to fill the void, I will only ever come back empty-handed, despite the armfuls of Target bags.

Someone else’s house will always be #goals. Someone else’s child will always be better behaved in Mass. Someone else’s husband will always be more understanding of the need for the more expensive pint of ice cream because then I won’t eat the whole half gallon. 

If I can’t let go of “someone else” I will never live my life. My. Life. Not someone else’s life.

A priest in a homily recently said these powerful words:

“If you’re not happy in your life right now, it’s your fault. I don’t mean fleeting happiness, I mean deep, joy. If you don’t have joy, it’s your fault, because God has given you everything you need to be full of joy. You are alive, and you have Him.” (roughly paraphrased)

I have Him. I have everything.


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