Coming alive again at Christmas

A week ago, I moved into a new house, and into a new season of life. My environment impacts me emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. I know that many people aren't like this. They are impervious to external influences. But the very senses that jump at beauty and color, that invigorate with art and music and culture, that drive to organize, are equally struck dumb by the bleak, dreary, wan and unfixable.

In the Dickensian, tenement-like apartment I lived in for the past year, I felt my faculties shutting down in a drowning disappointment. I retreated into a cave of TV shows and movies to medicate the pain of having to live so poorly.

The possibility of moving into this house at first was a rainbow-sheened bubble thrown out by friends that I was afraid to hope in. When they mentioned it over and again, each time, I let myself have a little more excitement that it could happen. But I didn't want to believe it was really available until the moving plans became set.

Now, as I am surrounded in boxes and beginning to settle into this lovely, generous, happy home, my heart is coming alive out of the numbness. I am keyed up with excitement and possibilities.

I find my hurt heart also responding to God in this season of His love made flesh. The hurt and ache and inability to make sense of things is still there. But there is a stubborn thread tying that same heart to His, longing to feel secure in Him again, longing to know He is who He says He is, desperate to rest in the promises He gives that I have (almost) given up on as life doles out so much pain. Tears are close to the surface, but they are tears of a heart that is still alive and seeking her Savior. I am thankful for that strong thread. It is not anything I have done. It is a piece of me God placed there. I can no longer think that I see more clearly than an agnostic or atheist. "but for the grace of God, there go I'' - I understand now that my makeup from birth included this thread, and that is not the case for all. It is nothing I can take credit for or feel superior about, as I know I have done in the past. The poverty of spirit I've had the past years has taught me that much humility anyway. This is a digression though. What I am sharing about is the joy of feeling a stirring of hope and joy and blessedness again, of His word having some solace and interest again to me, of reading thoughts of others on this journey and wanting to proclaim them to all my friends as messages of towering visions of truth-and-hope in our darkness.

I went to McKay's used bookstore on Thursday and found myself there for 3 hours, maybe 4. So many books were speaking to me, or speaking to me about friends. I found a slim book of poems about Christmas, Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems. I hadn't heard of Ann Weems before. But when I cracked open the volume randomly, I was caught up immediately. This $3 gift to myself is so rich; I want to write about 10 of the poems to friends! Let me share this very short one with you that especially brought the quick sting of tears and the ache for Him:

Yesterday's Pain

Some of us walk into Advent
tethered to our unresolved yesterdays
the pain still stabbing
the hurt still throbbing.
It's not that we don't know better,
it's just that we can't stand up anymore by ourselves.
On the way to Bethlehem,
will you give us a hand?

--Ann Weems

Merry Christmas dear friends.


Anonymous December 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

Tina, I've been wondering and worrying about you and your all-around "situation" for quite a while. I just read every word of your 12/24/11 message, and it breaks my heart to understand that you've been in so much pain and had so many trials, and lived so "poorly." I'm glad you shared this message, but, as usual, I don't know how to help; and, believe me, I SO WANT TO HELP. I'd love to have an even closer relationship with you and support you when you're down. I don't know how or what to do; but if you tell me/ call me/ ask, I will always answer the very best that I can. I thought of you yesterday and hoped that you were having a good Christmas; I wish that all your days could be good days, but that's not the way life is. God put you on my heart years ago, as I think you know, but I've had so few chances to help/ or even try to help you that it seems I've done nothing. Seeing you last year was GREAT, GREAT FUN. I hope I can see you again sometime soon. I'm a really good listener, so call me any time.
Love & hugs to you, Tina,
Aunt Judy

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Step into my inner world.

Sometimes, I hesitate to share thoughts that flit and emotions that surge and wane. Yet I so value when my friends share these insights with me. I get to know them in a special way.

So I invite you to get to know me - or continue knowing me - through this space of exploration.

I promise to reveal some of the joys, fears, observations, profundity, and ironies of life that come to mind day by day.

Don't forget to share with me your own inner sphere!

"To be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting." - e.e. cummings