Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas: The happiest time of the year?

While most people associate Christmas with happiness, joy, and excitement, there are others who dread the clockwork-like certainty of its coming every year. If given a choice, they would gladly skip ahead to sunnier months, leaving behind those cold winter days and snow covered driveways.

Perhaps remembering what has occurred during the past 360 days leaves little room for celebrating the remaining 5.

Or it might even stem farther back than that. Sadness doesn't really need a date to etch itself inside us; once there, it reminds us of its presence  with no thought of seasons passing.

It may be a little easier to block out the dull ache with the endless distractions summer brings, but ice and wind bring those shallowly buried feelings surfacing once more.

Sixteen years ago, today, I lost my mom to cancer. It seems like forever ago; back when I was just a gangly, barely-teen, in my awkward glory, who knew so little of life. Or anything remotely resembling fashion sense. I do mean re-motely.

That girl feels so far removed from the person I am now; and yet I know she's still in there each time I make a questionable style choice. :)

People have asked, do I wish I could change what happened all those years ago, if given a chance? And I can't really answer them. To say no, would mean choosing not to share a life with my mom, which I would never willingly  do. Saying yes, would mean choosing another version of who I've become, another existence, rather like a parallel universe.

The whole of ME, my core being, has been shaped, for good or bad, by events that were out of my control. Cancer doesn't need permission to take away a loved one, and God, much as we might wish, doesn't either.

In our eyes, a loss can mean the end of dreams or, perhaps, unvoiced, but carefully constructed, future plans. The death of a long held hope can be so completely shattering in its finality, and sadly, we're left to pick up the pieces of something that used to be intact.

In fact, we're mourning the loss of that intangible something, now gone, almost as much as that specific someone.

I don't recall exact images of my mom with sharp clarity. It's more an overall impression of her I remember. She dances around behind my eyelids during that magical time between waking and dreaming; more hazy hologram than reality. She's there when I'm leaning over the stove, spoon in hand, wondering just how much seasoning a pot of lentil soup needs. She guides my fingers as they slide along the piano keys, evoking the contentment of a little girl, tucked in bed, being lulled to sleep by slow, rhythmic, musical chords. Most importantly, she's present every time I do the right thing, because she taught me to always stand up for what I believe in, no matter the consequence. This is what sticks to me most; the core essence of...her.

My mom will always be part of me, though it's still not the same as receiving a warm hug, words of encouragement, or sharing a face to face conversation.  I miss those things countless moments a day, and always will...

However, I don't want to lose what's right in front of me by spending too much time chasing events gone by. Because, while I can't change or control the past, I CAN control how I let it guide my future. 

Time doesn't heal all wounds but it definitely does lessen the impact. If you, or someone you know, is struggling to cope, please allow yourself to feel sad, or mad, or down. God gave us this gauntlet of emotions for a reason and we should be able to express them, to vent when we need to.

It's all right if we don't see the big picture just yet because, while we might only see a tiny village on a map, our Heavenly Father sees a globe of opportunities.

Yes, He might take away certain things we hold dear, but He always gives back...abundantly and without reserve.  If we search for the light of His goodness, we will find evidence of it all around us. The key is looking.

December is such a busy month that stepping back from it all can be quite challenging yet, truly freeing.  Do you need to clear your mind or push the internal reset button? What may be holding you back from experiencing complete joy this Christmas?

As we prepare for new beginnings, now might be the perfect opportunity for your own re-birth as we celebrate His.

May God bless you richly and abundantly!

*Edit, For anyone who received multiple copies of this in their inbox, I apologize. My background was acting up, and I had to re-post several times to fix it! :( 


Laura Frantz said...

Beautiful pic and thoughts in this post. I'm always aware of the sadness of the season, maybe because I'm a bit melancholy by nature. But I've always been sensitive about things like that since I was small.

I'm so sorry about your mom. That's a hard loss at this time of year especially. I lost my dad to cancer in similar circumstances and always remember December 10 as "the day." I know your mom would be so delighted by who you've become:)

Thanks for such a heartfelt post. It blesses me!

Christina B said...

Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment-I really appreciate it. :)

I have to say, your thoughtful/pensive nature truly comes out in your writing, and drew me to it right away. You manage to capture intricate layers of emotion others might not readily access, which I think is born, in part, from an increased awareness of certain life experiences.

I've always been more introspective to begin with, but not having my mom here allows an added sensitivity factor toward others and what they may be going through personally.

I'm sure your dad would be extremely proud of you, Laura, for making a difference in others lives and doing it with such grace and beauty. :)

Thanks again for sharing of yourself and making my day a little brighter with your encouraging, thoughtful, note.

I'm so blessed to count you as a new friend.

Merry Christmas and God bless!

Coleen said...

Wow Tina! You have an amazing way with words! I haven't had a chance to read your blog until now! I had seen you post about it before but honestly didn't know it was YOURS! I completely get your thoughts and feelings about your mom , I lost my mom 31 years ago (wow.. really? ) and this time of year is really hard! Thank you for your words! Love you!

Christina B said...

Aww, thanks, Coleen! It's so nice to see you here-I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. :)

The older I get, the more I realize how many people are missing loved ones this time of year. I think maybe it's because we tend to stop and reflect on who/what is truly important...

Love you, friend, and hope you have a blessed New Year! Sending you a hug. :)

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