It happened at night. It always does, doesn’t it? The sniffle turns into a full-on cold, the sore throat becomes unbearable, that slightly red eye is suddenly a puffy, oozy mess. It’s always at night that thing go from “wait and see” to “oh, man, this kid is sick.”
What if my siblings had never existed? Would I even be here?
What if I had never met Phineas? Would I still have the appreciation I now have of other’s differences?
Like many of my generation, I grew up with the idea that handmade was synonymous with “homely.” My mother– an expert seamstress– rarely sewed for me. When I convinced her to, I usually ended up relegatating the garments to the back of my closet, behind the store-bought blouses with Peter Pan collars and JC Penneys slacks that I only touched on school picture day. Jumpers and corduroys were too fussy for my taste, no matter how much I enjoyed picking out the fabric.
Early morning is my time. I prefer to rise while it’s still dark. I’m obviously not wired for late nights; my thinking gets muddled as the hours grow darker, but watching the sun rise gives me an edge on the day that I can’t capture any other way.
This Christmas, there is healing.
We’re still raw in some places, still bruised in others. But overall, we are mid-stream on the process that will bring us to a place of looking in the rearview mirror with only pangs, not sobs.
That alone deserves celebration.
Years ago, I learned a lesson the hard way. Mired in depression and struggling with the fact that my life at that moment was good, but not best by my own definition, I lost a huge chunk of what was truly precious to me: my joy.
I lost whole days and weeks and months because I forgot the truth that God so patiently sows into my heart new every morning:
December 26 dawns with two camps firmly established each year: those relived that Christmas is done, and those depressed because Christmas is done. **
Thing is, they’re both wrong.
I admit to being completely caught off guard when my August post, “My husband is an idiot and I can’t stand my kids,” garnered so much attention. (42.3K shares on Facebook alone!) I’ve heard countless bl0ggers admit that there’s no way of knowing what post will strike a chord with readers, no formula to predict what will capture the collective attention. But that post resonated with a good number of people — at least enough to get them to click the link — and its still resonating.
As the post took off, the comments started rolling in. I really don’t expect comments very often; it’s become almost old-fashioned in this Facebook/Twitter/Instagram instant feedback world to take the time to type in your thoughts and respond to what you’ve read. When I do get comments, it feels very much like walking to the end of the driveway, opening the mailbox, and finding a personal note tucked inside. Awwwww! For meeee? By and large, the comments on the August post were supportive. But an undercurrent of backlash to my words quickly developed.
This year, when I opened the box of Christmas decorations, there was something new wrapped in with the ornaments and tucked into the stockings: the sweet/sad awareness that the snapshot I now know to be our family’s holiday norm is fading fast.
Mary Hannah came back in time for Thanksgiving, and will be with us at least through February. That’s when she’ll return to Idaho for what could be a quick 10-day intensive course … or could be the gateway to the apprenticeship she needs to go along with her ongoing classes and cement her qualifications as a Certified Professional Midwife. I’d be lying if I said I’m perfectly at peace with her not coming back at all; who is ever ready to put their child on a plane and whisper, “Until whenever“?
I’m not going to lie — before missions entered our life, we had more. More expendable income. More assurance that the world was (mostly) safe. More comfort living our American Dream. More oblivious indulgence in our own pleasures.
I’ve never been an extravagant person. I’ve always preferred small houses to sprawling ones, cocoa at home to coffee out, warm slippers to leather boots, knitting to a night on the town. Nothing drastic, really. Nothing that shouts excess.