Christmas is the one time of the year where you don't look like an idiot going out to the middle of a mountainous forest, and trying to find a christmas tree in the dark. Or is it?
Well that's exactly what I did.
I, my husband, and two of our dear friends did anyways...and it was an incredible blast. We began our journey at about 5:30, and we drove down to Price, UT (with snow, about 1.5 hours away) and picked up our christmas tree permit. (You have to have a permit to cut down a tree. I highly suggest you get one before you get pulled over with a gigantic tree on the hood of your car ;) )
The lady at the store was so kind, and showed us on a map where to turn and drive in to find the best trees. Let me just tell you- we were pumped. Like as pumped up as elves who've just eaten 173 candy canes a piece. Chocolate covered candy canes.
So we drove back up through Price Canyon, aka one of the deadliest roads in the country. (just fyi) and found the turn off to head into the forest.
I probably looked a squirrel who just found a bag
of fresh brazil nuts already cracked and abandoned.
At this point, I should tell you though, that it was getting dark...and by getting dark I mean it was so pitch black in the mountains that I started to forget what the sun looks like. (I'm only sort of kidding)
Well...much to our surprise, demise, and frustration...the "forest" was a whole bunch of FAKE pine trees.
They weren't pines at all, they were the kind of tree the looks like a pine when you're freezing and standing in the dark at -1 degrees, until you get close enough to feel it, and it's not even close to that picturesque Frasier or Douglas fir you are so accustomed to.
The disappointment became more and more poignant with every tree I looked at.
Now you have to understand, to look at a tree, I had to:
- shuffle through the snow
- climb either up or down half of a mountain
- freeze as I stood there
- try to decipher if it was a pine or not
The point I'm getting at here, is that finding your own Christmas tree is not as easy as it is in the cartoon Christmas movies.
Honestly, as I decorated our little bitty stick of a tree, which we finally found atop a steep hill, and filled my home with Christmas Cheer, I started to realize- this tree is quite symbolic for my life.
It wasn't really what I had planned on finding, but I am incredibly happy with it.
Life isn't always what we expect..sometimes the pine tree is just a stupid fake pine, and sometimes it's actually a porcupine. Sometimes the tree is entirely elusive and you never find it at all. And every now and then, you find the most luscious
evergreen you've ever laid eyes on.
But whether you end up with a True Christmas Tree, or a little Christmas Stick, isn't the hunt worth your time? Life does not always turn out the way we expect.
We have all felt that sentiment to be true.
But looking back- even if it isn't what you planned, you can still be happy with it.
My intention with this story of the infamous Christmas Stick Hunt, is not to tell you of how we can decorate our apartment, but rather how you can look back on your life and find happiness even if it is not what you planned on.
I certainly thought by now that I would be some musical sensation, changing lives and chasing all my dreams. I thought I wouldn't still live in Provo. I thought I would be almost finished with school.
Even when my dreams changed after high school, I thought by this time I surely would have life figured out, that I would have my act entirely together. I thought I would be well on my way to motivational speaking and singing for everyone to hear.
Then when I changed all my plans this summer, and married the man of my dreams, I thought for sure by Christmas we would have everything planned out, that we would be a year out from graduation. I thought we would be building our family by now.
And when I begin to dwell on all those long-past dreams, even outgrown dreams, I can begin to feel that familiar sadness of what we could also call forgotten dreams. But just as I found myself moving past the idea of the ideal Douglas fir, and falling in love with a tiny stick of a pine, with spiky needles, and very little splendor to it...we can also move past dreams we should have long since let go of. It is okay to change your dreams. They are yours, and they can be whatever you want.
I've learned that life changes around you, and your dreams too must change, for the better.
So even though we may begin with the dream of finding a massive Christmas Tree to rival that of St. Nicholas himself, we learn that we can also be happy with a tiny one we found while we were laughing with our best friends, while holding hands in the cold winter air
with the love of our life.
Is my life exactly as I imagined? No. It's even better. So no- it's not what I planned on, but I am more happy with it than I could ever adequately describe. It's far from what I imagined or even planned on. It turns out my dreams weren't really big enough for all the things I have already given my heart to, and all the things i have yet to become.
Look around you, look at the life you have, the things you HAVE accomplished.
If you're a mother, look at the tiny hands and big eyes that look up to you.
If you're a student, take a look at everything you have learned,
in the classroom and out of it.
If you're an adventurer at heart, gaze at all the places your mind and heart have been, and overcome, even if you've never left your hometown.
No matter what title you might give yourself, give yourself credit, and remember that you have already done great things- even if you don't see it right now.
Is anyone's life exactly as they planned it out? No. But for those who recognize what they have, who see the beauty in simple moments of laughter and meaningful expressions of love, in the peace of a quiet evening spent in reflection on an eternal plan...you can be happy with it.
Chances are...you'll be happier than
you thought you could be.
you thought you could be.
Break through the grey...look at life and see that even though it may not be what you planned on...it is still beautiful, and it is happy.
And then let it become even happier.
Happy Christmas Tree Hunting.