Some days I wish the past Was a shed out back Falling-down shabby shack Barn-like amnesiac Full-blown 4-alarm panic attack Packed full of every bad time. I’d burn it down Raze it to the ground… More
So. One Christmas. Can’t remember how old I was. Some age below puberty. I wanted a Barbie Dream Cottage. The one with the elevator.
My mom had made a dollhouse years ago out of cardboard and leftover scraps. It was amazing! It had furniture and everything. It wasn’t very big, but the time and effort she put into it was much appreciated. We wore it out and tore it up.
But now. A few years later. I wanted a big-girl Barbie Dream Cottage. The real deal. And she got it.
She put it in her closet. In plain sight. The box was so big that you could just walk in their room and see the bright-white box gleaming from the closet shelf. Even if she would have wrapped it, I would have known what I was getting. Subtlety had been
prison-stabbed a long time ago in this family.
So. I saw it. Probably a week or more before Christmas. When I saw it, I immediately started begging my mother to let me open it early.
Please, please, please. *Heavy breathing and groaning*
I just had this deep, deep anxiety, anticipation, worry, eagerness. If I didn’t get the cottage now, I will have wasted all of this Christmas vacation play time.
Kids have several days off before Christmas. Sitting at home. Waiting for Christmas to arrive. Swallowing their excitement over and over like big gulps of air until they hyperventilate on Christmas. It’s completely and totally insane.
While adults are preparing the food, and the tree, and the food, and the presents, the food and the food, and the nog, and the food. Kids are watching TV, filling their gobs with bon-bons, hopefully running in and out of the snow and shaking presents like Polaroid pictures.
What did she expect? From me? Slobberbox McWhiny-Pants?
Please. Please. Pleeeeease.
I could tell she was upset and very disappointed. Frustrated. Mad. She hated my lack of self-control in that moment. I know she did.
But she left me have it. (LOL, oh boy, did she left me have it) On one condition. No, and I mean no, help in putting it together.
I ran to the closet. I tore that box open like a box of Twinkies. Laid out all the parts and started assembling. I looked at the instructions briefly, but intuitively knew what went where. Mostly. I got to a point where something had to be screwed.
I knew where the screwdriver was and I ran to get it. I started screwing that Barbie cottage up. Royally.
Something went wrong and I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole or screwed it too far or something. I warped the heavy plastic on the roof and it turned a lighter shade of orange. Some parts had to be taped. Scotch tape. But I put it together.
I was mildly disappointed. But at the same time thrilled and slightly proud of myself for wrestling my mother into a rarely-achieved coup, putting together a complex gift, and to be immediately playing with my new toy before Christmas. I was the only one with a gift! Ha!
That pride and newness quickly waned. When Christmas finally arrived, I had lost any thrill and was jealous of those receiving presents and I had none to open.
I learned a hard lesson that day. One that my mother was willing to teach me. Best to wait. Wait for help. Wait for others. Enjoy each moment, with or without a gift. Wait for joy. It’s better when you wait. Or! Joy is not in receiving a gift, joy is found in obedience, patience and self-control. Restraint is its own reward.
But I had that Barbie Dream Cottage until I was 15? I hadn’t played with it for years, but I held on to it. It was the most expensive thing I owned, to that point. Ha. Then I gave it to another little girl.
It has been famously said, by many people, “Life is a gift.” In many ways, with many words.
My dear Christians. Are you still living your life as if it were a gift? That you inherently received grace or life because God knew how awesome you were going to be and you don’t have to do anything with your gift? You just sit and enjoy merely breathing? Staring at your present under the tree and never taking it out of the box?
Everyone on the planet takes their life for granted, at one point or another. People throw their gift on the fire because they lose the wonder of love.
Jesus is the gift.
Your life is meant to be the offering.
Empty boxes after Christmas are lives unlived. Unwrapped.
Jesus is the salvation of the world. We are the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to the foot of the cross by our sacrifice and honor and glorification of God. Our actions, thoughts and faith are the offering. We must be conscious of that every second.
Our existence is not to be brought gifts or to be thanked or to be served. Or to be rewarded or acknowledged for breathing in and out. Our life is to do the will of God.
And when we don’t?
We are not Christians. We are merely people thankful to be alive. Surviving one more day in this crazy, messed up world. That’s the human condition and Jesus is the medicine.
So. Give gifts. Give the gift of love and kindness. Not things. And don’t wait around for Christmas. Make offerings, every day, for love.
God is close to the broken-hearted
Mercy is where his grace has started
Carved-out justice of rock he made
Starve the devil on blood-soaked pearls once paid
Love falls down in chunks of fluff
All-time sacrifice was more than enough
Hope rises on this cloud-breaking bird
Sad beyond words
Despair and anger
Pick at me like birds
I lay in the ashes
Mixed with tears and spit
Swirled dirt and blood
This is where I quit
You left me here
Alone in the world
To drown in this whirling
Pool that you purled
Where’s your spirit
Where’s your strength
Where’s your promise
Past arm’s length
You only live in me
But if I’m numb
What good will there be
I’m at a loss
To know what to do
If something’s done
It’s gotta be you
You’re the only reason for living
So how can I exist
When you’re not here
My fingers crumble from a fist
My head remains unkissed
Erased from some list
What’s the point in this
the world is all at once
popping the bubble of now
but the stone of lasting peace
is answering the how
How do you suffer? How do you stop?
How do you survive to be the bubble at the top?
Aaron Copland clouds
Trumpets and strings
Brilliant blue with wings
Plucked from the scores of paradise
Rose gold rays, long-tall days
This is where even devil prays
Brass beds, brass bands
Worry and fear are always my strays
Green as far as the sun can swing
No fence to stop a living thing
Rolling hills, sunlight spills
From the top of the world, I sing
Yellow fields sway
Harps of angels play
And I dream that these ghosts will stay.
It’s hard for me to write these days. I don’t have extra time. But with Thanksgiving breathing down our wattles, I wanted to say a quick thank you to my husband.
My husband, Guy. He’s a rock. I know all women say that about their husbands. And some are referring to the stony outcropping of a lump that inhabits their sectional, but this man. This man is my rock.
He is the stone that I have built my adult life on. Over and over, my “home” has been torn down, ripped to the studs, overwhelmed by the storm and waves of PTSD, anxiety and mental/physical illness/addiction. My whole life seems like a chaotic whirl of emotion and pain. But in the middle of that whirl, the lighthouse I fix my course on, is Guy.
He’s brought me to Christ. He wouldn’t say that. He wouldn’t know that.
My mom taught me church, the Bible, what it meant to be a Christian, but my husband has drawn me to my knees in reliance on Christ.
We’ve had turmoil. We’ve had horrible fights. We’ve had almost 20 years of anger, bitterness and rage to conquer. But we’ve done that mostly hand in hand.
He’s supporting me in this crazy idea of mine, to go to Israel and help little children and elderly who use wheelchairs. He’s so excited for me. He has been my cheerleader throughout this whole process.
I’m so lucky and thankful to have such a passionate, caring, loving husband who desires me, cheers me, loves me and forgives me. A man who cares about my spiritual well-being as much as my physical and mental well-being. A man who cares about my being at all.
And gosh darn it, I just think he’s so handsome. That doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. And some ladies might think I’m legally insane to swoon over this rock, but he’s just so gosh-darn kissable. His humor and charm make him irresistible to many.
I’m thankful that God made such a wonderful man, a man after my own heart, to pair me with. To make a child with. To grow up and old with. I’m so very lucky to have honesty, loyalty and love in my life.
Thank you, God. I rejoice this Thanksgiving for friends, family and my forever friend and partner, Guy. :*
In heaven and earth
Nothing to be done
Now that you’re gone
No battles to be won
Living this life
Kills us every day
One step closer
And time will have its way
The depth of sorrow
Is an endless tomorrow
These things cannot find fix
These emotions cannot unmix
There is no timeline
To heal this grief
Just hope for reunion
Live on that belief
How much you love anyone is directly related to how far you had to walk to find them.
Or how far you’re willing to walk WITH them.
Scars are the birthplace of unconditional love.