The family sitting in front of us is restless and irritated. My six year old’s busy feet and high pitched screams are driving them nuts. it’s no fault of his, he is in his own world, loving his seat next to his dad, cheering endlessly for the Hershey Bears. He is happy to be there. He is often this way. But me? I can’t even see his smile anymore, I can only see them.
All I notice is the anger rising inside of me. As the people stare back at him, I find myself giving death glares back. I can feeling the blood boiling inside of me, hotter and hotter and completely consuming. My attention to the game is lost and I am caught up only in the tension surrounding us. I feel like the most immature 38 year old in the world. I’m thinking of how this scene may turn quickly and a yelling match could begin. I begin to think of what I’ll say. What will I do?
Who am I? What am I thinking?
You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking, it’s amazing how I could have so much love for my neighbors around the world, but the people sitting inches from me— DON’T like them at all.
Merry Christmas. Yee haw.
What is supposed to be relaxing and fun is not. I am fully aware of my humanness as I sit in this hockey arena. I am aware of the ugly person I can become. I am aware at how quickly my peace (and apparently all maturity) can be lost. Much to my surprise (and relief) we survive the game without incident. And next, we have to get out of this parking lot. I’m driving and I’m not having luck merging into the mess. No offers from others and my blood boils again. I have to force my way out of our parking spot and into line. Seriously, holiday traffic could do me in singlehandedly.
Merry Christmas. Oh, Joy.
I get home and I’m done holding it together. My family, mostly my husband, takes the brunt of my pent up wrath. It’s ugly and no amount of living room Christmas lights can make the spirit of this moment feel better. I’m in spiral mode and I know it. And if my family didn’t know it before, well they do now. I spill it all out and then silence follows.
In bed, I gather up every ounce of energy I have to apologize to Drew. It’s not much of one, but it covers the offense.
I was frustrated.
I took it out on you.”
Today, the kids are out with their grandparents and I tell my friend in a text that it’s best I’m alone. This way, the damage control is much easier. I’m on the verge once again.
Later Drew texts, “How’s your day going?”
My response: “PMS is kicking my ass.”
No response from him. (He is really smart.)
So here’s Christmas, hours in front of me. And here I am in Advent, limping along. I’m trying to pull it together so it can be pretty for the kids, but that’s a moment by moment thing.
The lights, gifts, songs, it’s all fun. And I normally love it. But today I am having trouble feeling any of it. And what gets me through is the reality that if I can remember one thing from all that bombards me, it’s this…
Jesus took on the most humble form and in the most unexpected way. All this to enter this chaotic space to meet us just where we are at. Even if that means for now, we are sitting alone in our room with the door locked.
We’ve got hope for tomorrow.
Prayer for Renewal
I seek your presence, O God,
not because I have managed to see clearly
or been true in all things this day,
not because I have succeeded in loving
or in reverencing those around me,
but because I want to see with clarity,
because I long to be true
and desire to love as I have been loved.
renew my inner sight,
make fresh my longings to be true
and grant me the grace of loving this night that I may end the day as I had hoped to live it,
that I may end this day restored to my deepest yearnings,
that I may end this day as I intend to live tomorrow, as I intend to live tomorrow.
-John Phillip Newell