A simple Christmas hello to you blogging world. Like most of you who celebrate this season, I am attempting to:
not stress-out about money and gifts and time
consume calories in moderation
enjoy my family
not buy another roll of wrapping paper
not curse the rain while my kids are home on break
remember the "reason for the season"
not be too sad over the fact that I, once again, did not mail out Christmas cards
Other than not being consumed over the above list, I have been thinking about you for a while. I have come by a few times to check in on my heart, see if there is any spark to be present here in this little corner of the universe.
There is only a quiet stillness, an affirming, empty silence.
But I am here now not only to wish you a holiday blessing, but also to thank you for your sweet emails, comments, mailed gifts, and encouragement. It feels nice to be missed. :)
My family and I are doing ok. We are hanging in there and thankful for what we do have: each other.
In the silence of the last few months I have...
Gone to bed early.
Ate a lot of soup.
Prayed. So much so, that my thoughts have become prayers.
Walked, sometimes with a friend, sometimes not.
Washed dishes, folded laundry.
Worked at my kids' school.
Sent my camera to the fix-it shop.
Cleaned some closets and drawers, tossed stuff.
Read a little. My Bible, or Coastal Living magazine. And Real Simple.
Practiced eating better.
I have picked up my camera only a handful of times. When I do there is that empty silence of which I previously spoke. I often pick it up, snap of the lens cap, take it outside where the kids are, and wait for the rush of passion to capture the moment. Yet I am met with nothing. I go through the motions for a few minutes and then put it down. It's as if I am waiting, expecting, for the revival of what I once felt yet I am met with a "not yet". There is an odd sense of relief and a little bit of wonderment over the still present peace in my heart over the decision I made to step away, for now.
I know that often the creative portion of our heart slips into a winter of dormancy whenever toil and struggle become too much to carry. Our body slips into self preservation mode and we find ourselves only able to focus on the immediate. But a dear sweet friend reminded me in a comment from the last post that no struggle in our life is wasted. Her words were so prophetic to me and encouraging to my soul that I have included them here because I have held them to my heart.
"I have learned that God will never waste any level of grief or suffering. The creativity that He has blessed you with that is intended to inspire and bless and glorify Him will sit under the soil like a bulb. The beauty that will emerge from this bulb as the winter has passed! Every shade, texture and melody will resonate more beautiful than you could ever image."
I am waiting for that day. And I know that I will pick up my camera again someday soon with a different sort of passion and love, this time with greater purpose and meaning because I have prayed for it to be so.
This past Sunday we visited a church and my Bean brought this nativity scene to me when I picked her up from Sunday school. I fell in love with it--though I do find it odd that Mary is less than modest. (oh well)
Seeing my Bean's little nativity scene reminded me of the simplicity that I have been seeking to behold, not only during this time of year, but in the last few months of my life. When I strip away the clutter and distractions and focus on what is most meaningful to me, then there I find that nothing else matters. And what I once thought important is, well...not. It has been quite freeing.
Seeing her nativity scene also reminds me that God can cram a lot of heaven into such simple ordinary events. There is hope to be had in this for me. If he orchestrated a glorious collision of heaven and earth that culminated in a simple, quiet birth of the infant Christ to an ordinary teenage girl and boy, then I pray that I do not miss the fact that God can cram heaven into the most ordinary events and experiences of my own story-line. Sometimes I wish there could be a radiant star and a chorus of angels over those events to mark them as such, but alas I must trust and hope in the fact that he is able to orchestrate the ordinary to bring about the extraordinary in me. Are not all good stories written with this formula? :)
I am off to cook dinner for my family, finish up some green cookies my daughter started, and get back to being thankful for what has been given to me. I wish for you the same prayer that has been running through my heart this season, and that is, that you will have a "hopeful Christmas and a brave new year."
Hope and Bravery. The birth of the Christ child reminds me that I can experience both no matter where my story takes me.