reluctant advent - hope

I have a confession.
The Christmas decorations that came out before Halloween kind of pissed me off.
And I like Christmas.
And I have little kids that I want to make it special for.
Which would require me to be excited and intentional and probably bake things.

I kept thinking I'd be more into it after Thanksgiving.
But. Still not so much.
I did get Shaun to lug the tree out of the shed.
But we haven't decorated it yet. Despite my son's begging.

Friday night I took my kids and nieces and nephew to look at lights.
And was mostly tired and full and ready for bed.
Although I did manage to spin under my favorite big tree of lights until I was dizzy.
Like I do every year.

I even did a little Christmas shopping today. But mostly I was trying to get it over with. Toys R Us doesn't exactly put me in a spirit of cheer.
And to my sister who sent me home from Thanksgiving with wrapped presents. A big fat thank you and please try explaining to my 2 year old why she can't open them (including her brother's yet!). Total melt down.

My next few weekends are packed with parties and events. And I haven't even thought about cards or Santa or all of the extra calories I will be consuming in the next few weeks.

But this morning at church, they lit the first advent candle.
The one that stands for Hope.
And I loved that.

And I remembered that I really like this season after all.

My tree isn't up. There are no lights on the outside of my house (and their might not ever be). My cards aren't adressed or even ordered. I haven't wrapped a single gift. I don't have Christmas music playing in my car. And I haven't figured out what the heck I'm gonna get my dad or my husband or how we are going to pay for any of it.

But I love advent.
And those other things will get done. And I wasn't going to do any special Advent writing this year. I feel like I did enough of that the last few years and am not so sure I have much more in me. But suddenly I really don't want to ignore this season and anticipation in this space.
And to be honest, for right now I'm too busy and overspent to start from I'll be recyling some old posts on here this week on hope. And next week on peace...and so on.

So for the first installment, a post from back in May....

Lately I’ve had some hard days.

I’ve written about some of it, other things I’ve left out.
Some of my friends keep asking if I’m ok.
And I’m really not.
But I don’t quite have time to let myself not be.

And I hesitate to say that I’m not.
Because none of it is really my grief.
It is all secondhand.
Losing a student is tough. But it is not like losing a son or a brother or a best friend.
Another friend is in the hospital.
She lost a son in August and is pregnant again with some serious complications.
20 weeks along with a little girl named Piper.

And yesterday, after my day job.
I had a play date and got to see a friend of my own that I have missed.
I made dinner for a neighbor who had surgery.
I stopped by the funeral home to give a girl a hug who just lost her twin.
A girl who happened to be Owen’s first baby sitter.
A girl whose grief and loss breaks my heart in so many ways.
And I didn’t go inside or say anything.
I just hugged her on the front steps and wiped away my tears.
And packed up my kids and was off to swim lessons.

And from there I went to see my Beth in the hospital.
And my Beth is easy. Even in a very difficult situation.
Our girls filled her hospital room with their squeals and giggles.
And we talked easily about movies and friends and her cervix.
And that it is all too soon and doesn't look good and there aren't many options.
Excpet to hope for the best.
And afterwards I ate good food with another old friend.
And went home and packed a sack lunch with a note tucked inside and put my own baby to bed.

And as I laid down, I was again consumed by all this grief.
And that I am choosing it.
Because really, let’s be honest.
It would be easier to just send a card. Or even flowers.
But giving grief a hug or driving a long way just to sit in a hospital room and eat craisons is awfully hard on my heart.
And my heart is tired. And I’m not so sure how much more it can take.
But there are still lunches to pack, and papers to grade and banquets and showers and birthday parties and soccer games to get to.

And last night, just before I left the hospital.
My friend’s nurse came in to take her temperature and blood pressure and those kinds of things. And I’m not sure why I asked, but I did anyways.
If she could let us listen to the heartbeat.
And she came back in with her Doppler and jelly.
And we heard the swish of the baby moving. And the quick lub-dub of her heart beating strong despite all the things going against her.

And for the first time in days…
I heard what hope sounds like.

and for the update....this is what it looks like:


Beth (and Eric) said...

Well, I would not have survived last advent season without you! Thank you for helping me keep on hoping. Hope is a beautiful thing. Wish I was there to prepare with you...

Margie said...

This makes me a bit weepy.