Thursday, January 27, 2011

Faith Like a Child: How Lucas Saved Christmas

Sometimes I've just got so much that in my head that when I sit down to put it on paper… nothing comes out.

Do you know what I mean?

Sometimes there is just way too much that I want to say-- that I need to say-- and the wanting and needing gets all tangled up in the emotion and then the execution becomes absolutely ... well... exhausting. I've been thinking this post through for quite some time now-- as soon as I worked through it in my life I knew I'd like to write about it to gain some closure. But here I am. Tired and tongue-tied.

It's times like these where I really need to discipline myself to just sit down and let the words flow, rolling seamlessly from my thoughts onto the paper (or screen, as the case may be). ... And I've got a glass of red wine & a purring Gracie within arms reach, so I'm going to try. This may be some of the most raw, un-edited posting you will ever see from me -- But this is me. This is Real. And, ultimately... this is good.

I've always known that one of my biggest (okay... THE biggest) faults is that I'm impatient. I'm very "type A"... I like to have an idea of where things are going, and when I'm going to get there. I've had a basic life plan since I was 12, for crying out loud.

And I think this is why in November, at the age of 24, I felt totally blindsided when I woke up one day and realized that I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I mean, I really didn't know, and that was scary.

I guess from a lot of angles, it seemed like I'd all ready DONE everything. College? check. Get married? check. Buy a house? check. But when all was said and done, I felt empty. I felt lost, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. You see, the only problem with counting your blessings is that when you are able to recognize all the good things in your life and still feel lonely and sad, there's only one explanation for it.

Clearly, you've gone insane.

I didn't know what my problem was... I'm blessed to be married to my best friend... I am a contributing member in my workplace... I have a lovely home and two delightful (if sometimes badly behaved) cats to snuggle & fill my life with mirth. And yet-- there was this void. I was unhappy, and I didn't have a clue what to do to fix it. I felt like I was stuck in a rut so deep that I couldn't even see the sunshine. Honestly? I felt lonely.

Needless to say, I was definitely not in the holiday spirit. Not at all.

I tried to pull myself out of it ... I really did. I tried every trick in the book: I ate chocolate (my holiday baking did not suffer one iota...); I journaled (pages upon pages); I snuggled with Gracie (spending the better part of some weekends in bed); I exercised (running & I are totally back on, btw); I prayed constantly. And it became clear to me that I couldn't do this by myself. Something outside of me was going to have to intervene.

And on December 19, someone came into my life that was able to yank me out of myself and change my perspective.

On December 19, my nephew Lucas was born.

One memory I will always treasure about his birth day was how we celebrated. Oh, how we celebrated... You see: Lucas is a smart little man. He timed his arrival "just so", and everything fell into place so that a big group of us was together-- Jon & me, both sets of grandparents, Jon's sister from Texas, my parents. We had spent the morning performing the Messiah at Church, and were headed out to lunch together when J's father received the good news via text message (where would we be without technology, right?!) What followed was a celebration of life like I had never been a part of before. There was laughter and tears… and so much love.

I think it was in those moments that I woke up. It was like I had been in a fog for the past 6 weeks, passing through a dream world. I've got to tell you, it was the best wake-up call anyone could hope for. To wake to hugs and kisses & stories told over multiple cups of coffee; homegrown warmth and peace & comfort that only time with family can provide. And it clicked for me… settling deeply and unshakably in my soul: this is what the season was really about-- what life is all about. It isn't about achieving everything on your to-do list, and it certainly isn't about simply moving from point A to point B. My faith tells me that I am right here right now for a reason. My family's love gives me the courage to stand in that moment and own it, even when I haven't yet discovered the gift that I hold in my hands, even now. Their love gives me the strength to laugh in the face of fear-- to smile in the face of the unknown, because their love is the one thing that is constant and unwavering. Their love coupled with my faith gives me the determination to dig deep and stand stand firm on the ground of my "now"… and I know that when the time comes, their love will support & uphold me as I venture forth into new territory. If I cannot say anything else for myself at the end of my life (and, lets be honest, I really hope I can… I'm just sitting here waiting for my divine directive :), I know that if I have created and sustained this kind of family love, it will be enough.

In short, the day was absolutely perfect.

And furthermore, Lucas is perfect. Jon & I brought dinner to his parents (Jon's sister & her husband) several days later, and we got to meet him. ...And we got to hold him; to stroke his downy head and experience the warm weight of a baby in our arms. Together, we rejoiced quietly in all the possibilities that he holds- delighting in his smallness now; wondering at the man he will become.

And it was (and is) good.

A brief afterward: Something else that has been important for me to realize is that my soul seems to periodically experience these "winters" of angst and unrest. But, like the earthly season, the winters don't last-- they move gracefully into soft springs.As an optimist, I hold to the hope that someday the "winters" will simply cease to exist … but until that time I will give thanks for the wonderful people who have been put in my life to guide me as I grow.