Monday, December 7, 2015

The Ache of the Wait

I finally sat down to write this post, after I spent the better part of the day trying to avoid it. This space has become more than I had ever envisioned for it, but it often times puts my heart at war with my head. Sharing the mix of the hard, in with mixes of the joy can make me feel as if I don't know the voice of this space, but then I have come to realize that it's all just my voice and some days that voice is light and carefree and some days it can feel as if the weight of the world can leak out when I open my mouth. That's where it started today. Yet, as I wrote, I found myself with this sense of deja vu, so I looked back through last years posts and discovered that I had written nearly the same post I had just started. As I reread my own words, they spoke to my heart the things I needed and so I thought I would share them again, but add a little more this time. 

You see, I had approached Thanksgiving with a sense of anxiety I didn't realize I had until the holiday weekend ended and I finally found that I could breathe again, like taking a long breathe of air after trying to see how far you could swim underwater before surfacing. And then on the ride to work the other day, I found myself singing along to my Christmas CD, when tears I didn't even know I had coming found themselves streaking down my face. It had started with the words, "...Trust me and follow me and I will lead you Home." The next thing I know I am trying to get out the words to my Grownup Christmas List and my heart seems to understand every word in a different way and the song became more of a prayer than a song and "I'm all grown up now, but I still need help somehow" seemed to reverberate through my soul and out into the world. And I found myself wondering if it's not just those that have lost someone close, but really all of us who have fully entered the world of adulthood and taken off the blinders that leave us feeling this ache of Christmas. 

When I was writing today's post in my head, before I ever remembered last years post, I had been thinking about the ache of the wait leading up to Jesus' birthday. The post I found was actually written a few days after Christmas and this is what it said... 
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The tree stands glowing in the center of the window, in the same place it has always stood, adorned with the same ornaments for over 20 years. It looks the same as it always has, yet it means something different this year. It holds on its limbs the sweetest of memories, but they are memories so very sweet that they leave an ache behind. An empty, dull, pit in your stomach ache, because they hold all that isn't there. It meant the same last year, but I may have been too blinded with grief that I didn't see them. Or they were too hard to put up. This year the sting wasn't so fresh. It didn't take just the feel of the breeze to make the world hurt. But the ache is still there, it will always be there. In the mention of a name and in the ornaments that hang amid light draped branches. They are the sweetest memories and they still can be. But it's the texts you get from your dad, who is putting the ornaments on the tree, saying it's a slow going process. He doesn't say why, but you know. So you go over and you help and though you don't hang but one ornament its just the fact that there is someone there to look and see. To look and see and not need to say anything, because you both know what the other is thinking. You both know that the ornaments mean so much, but feel so hard. 
The ache is still there on Christmas morning. It's there when you are making waffles and eating them. And it's there as tears fall down faces during a pre-breakfast prayer. It's there in between all the wrapping paper and bows. It's there when presents are presented. Beautiful paintings that so artistically brought sweet memories to life. Yet, the ache is there because on this side of heaven the closest we will get to life here on earth with my brother is the smile in the paintings and in the memories that fill our hearts. It's there when you smile at the joy of a three year old opening presents, hugging Elsa dolls close. It ebbs and flows and sometimes gets forgotten, but it comes back. And really that's ok. 

The ache can be handled, it can be tolerated. Though we hate that it has to be tolerated, we will tolerate it all the same. Because it's better than forgetting all together. For numbing it down so much that you crawl blindly through the holidays. That's about where I was last year, there isn't much that I remember. This year the picture is different. There was more color, more light. There was so much more life in this Christmas. I am glad for that. I am glad that on Christmas, on the time of year that we celebrate life, that we celebrate the greatest Birth there ever was, that I can ache. When a part of you is gone, some of you will always ache. I think it is similar to the way our hearts are hardwired to ache for Jesus. We think fondly of the sweetest gift, the gift that filled the whole world with hope. We ache for the fact that we are so far from sitting face-to-face with Jesus, but we are glad for the fact that someday we will. I am glad that the ache can remind me of all that was good. I am glad for the sweet memories of life that will make it just as hard to take down the tree as it was to put up. And I am glad for the fact that, while I ache here on earth, it is just a matter of time before I see my brother again and get to rejoice at seeing his face. I get to rejoice because the sweet memories will be there, but all the hard things will be long forgotten. 
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My gosh, how those words just echoed in my heart again this year. But in a different way. This year, the anxiety felt different and now having made it through Thanksgiving, I have a better understanding of it. I know when it comes and I can greet it with a nod of my head. It still sits there, but there is more joy in those moments. The joy and sorrow aren't separate things anymore, but a mix of it all. Even in the midst of moments that, in the previous two years would have left me unable to speak, I am able to fondly talk about memories with a sense of joy and light in my voice. Time has given me that. And while time can not erase the hurt that lingers, I don't think it should. Our hearts should be hardwired to hurt for things that are wrong. Our hearts should ache and cry out and pray loudly words like, 

"No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
and wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up christmas list" 

Our hearts should ache for the coming of Jesus, so that His birth gives way to the joy of what the gift of His Love really means; which is that someday all of those prayers will be answered. Some day the ache will lead to Him coming to us, taking us by the hand and saying. "Trust me and follow me, we are going Home."

1 comment:

  1. I am sorry holidays can be tough. It sounds like last year was a really hard year. I'd like to send you a hug and hope that you can find peace and comfort this year. So very true we should ache for the coming of Jesus. :)

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