It’s been a long year. We’ve celebrated birthdays and holidays and first steps and first teeth and learning to read and how to ride a bike and how to swim without floaties. Micah spent 2 weeks in China, we summered in New England (I’ve always wanted to say that phrase…summered…) and we’ve done a whole lot of schooling. I’ve walked begrudgingly into a new-but-not-easier stage of grief, I’ve wrestled with my insecurities and started sharing (hopefully helpful) videos on Facebook, and we’ve enjoyed a lot of visitors. I’ve continued to settle into Southern living, I’ve grappled with loneliness and a longing to belong, we jumped into baseball and celebrated a Regular Season Champ (Silas) and a Playoff Champ (Sam), Micah took a new position with Merrill Lynch and is about to graduate with his MBA from Georgia Tech (in all his free time) and I converted a crib into a porch bench (in all my free time) which either signifies our family is growing up and out of cribs or that we’re about to have a surprise sixth since getting rid of baby gear seams to be our surefire way of getting a baby.
*This is NOT a baby announcement.
For some reason, the Holiday Season tends to find me a bit down and reflective. Not depressed, just sober. I’ve been sitting on this bench a lot lately. Thinking. Thinking about what I’m thankful for and the hard work and suffering it often cost. I’ve also been thinking of others who suffer and a Savior who came to redeem our broken world. I tend to feel a strong desire to feel comfy and cozy on earth during the Holiday Season, and yet also a deep longing to be Home. A few stanzas tend to rotate almost non-stop through my head and I catch myself humming them throughout the day or singing them to the kids at bedtime. The lyrics and melody bring both comfort and longing:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
-O Holy Night
Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel
-Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel
That last stanza has become especially meaningful to me as my mind revisits tragic examples of ‘sad divisions’ in our world. And then I think about my children and my daily, second-by-second efforts to help them grow into the kind of people that, quite honestly, will make the world a better place- whatever their place is within it. I don’t know who my children will become, and I don’t know what kind of world they will be entering. But I hope my small, consistent efforts in mothering these 5 larger-than-life souls will reap future blessing for all they come in contact with. (I was just interrupted by the school bus driver who motioned me over to tell me how ‘wonderfully respectful and responsible’ my kids are. How they clear themselves and their toys from the street and wait as she turns the bus around in our driveway. She said they are a joy to see every day.) So yeah, those kinds of blessings.
These are my thoughts as I look forward to 2018. These are my hopes and my prayers.
My cousin and incredibly talented photographer at Second Street Photography recently visited and offered to take some pictures of my daily life. It was scary to say the least. I was sure she would capture discord, chaos, sibling fights, a frustrated and frazzled mom. I tend to go hard on myself. When I saw her pictures, I was literally stunned to silence. We didn’t look chaotic…or frazzled…or like we were one glance away from fighting. There was fun…and play…and learning…and nurture….and SMILES. Not fake, forced smiles, but real smiles. And I instantly wished I could see my daily life as my cousin did.
That’s my other hope as I look forward to 2018. To slow down and see. And be. Be quiet. Be observant. Be present.
I wish you much peace and comfort as you walk through these last six weeks of 2017. May they be padded with peace and joy and vivid moments. And may 2018 find us all filled with much faith, hope and love.