Around Christmas every year, I feel heaviness -- not from Thanksgiving feasting -- but an emotional heaviness. I'd like to explain it away by the change in weather or that the seasonal glitz and magic of the holidays have dulled as the years wear on, but I can't ever shake that there is a shadow over my heart.
It's been a heavier year than ever. There have been enormous losses and beautiful gifts of new life, and the collision of the the two feels a little like that time Joe and I went sailing and ran into a bridge we failed to see before we could get the mast down -- surrounded by beauty but fumbling to untie knots and ending up showered in dirt-dauber nests and cobwebs. But that image doesn't nearly do it justice, and I don't know how to do justice to losing my spouse's father. I don't know how to clean that up. I can't make it right. That time we sailed into the bridge we yelled at each other and laughed about it years later. That time we lost Papa, we leaned in close and held the ones we loved.
We received a new niece this year and learned there will be another new niece on the other side of the family just after the new year, and the sadness and love and joy remind us that life must be more than our frail frames, the morning routines, the glass of wine at dinner. It's forever longer than that first gasp of air as a mother gives her final push to the final breath that ushers our spirits from this realm. Love enters into our souls and lifts the heaviness while also assuring us that the heaviness is part of living for now, that it's okay to feel and hurt and let the tears fall -- it's the part that makes us hunger and thirst and cry out for redemption.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. - 2 Corinthians 4:6-12
Love to all the family and friends who have been the arms of Jesus this year. You bring in the light.