Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends. Can you believe 2016 is just days away? Our schedules are packed, wallets are emptied, bellies are full… And yet, something is missing for this mama. It became painfully obvious this morning. All the kiddos are home from school today, and while they played in their pajamas, this mama stepped outside in her’s. My pajamas, that is, and a big, fluffy, pink robe. I had to throw a piece of mail into the mailbox, and I didn’t care who saw me on my quick trip to the street and back again.
But as I took that first step out of our front door, I was greeted with the chimes of church bells in the distance, and the thoughts rushed in like a gust of wintry truth. I long for simple. For simpler times. For crisp, clear moments, like that one. In this season in which life-moments are fleeting, like fast-falling snowflakes, I am finding myself wanting to linger. To catch some on my tongue. To examine a few on my gloves. To laugh as they rest peacefully atop my child’s head. And I’m not talking about literal snowflakes, well, not entirely, anyway. I mean those life moments. They are melted and forgotten before I’ve even taken the chance to examine them in their rawness and beauty.
Where are you going, life? Will I ever catch up to you? Or should I be slowing down and force you to stop for a breath yourself once in a while?
With each step, a bell chimed. It was so serene. I couldn’t tell if it made me feel nostalgic – almost transporting me back in my mind to what I imagine a winter morning at Christmastime felt like before cell phones, and deadlines, and social media… Before too many appointments and activities… What would it be like? To walk outside your door in the morning and just take a little walk, listening to the church bells chime as you delivered cookies to an elderly neighbor? Wouldn’t that be something? To “digress”? To live, and breathe, and just be once in awhile.
Or maybe it made me feel lonely. Maybe those somber, deliberate steps taken in the stillness on a quiet street reminded me of how full my life is but how empty it feels most days. Sure, we laugh. I play with my kids, and we enjoy afternoon movies and snuggles on the couch. I’m not all there, though. I’m somewhere else much of the time. I’m making mental checklists and contemplating craft ideas and designing imaginary dresses and considering business deals and dreaming up ministry opportunities and remembering to-do lists… I’m not there, breathing in their sweet little smell, taking in their quirky little mispronunciations, or answering their innocent questions with more than two brain cells and in a decent tone.
The comparison of the simplicity of the moment against the cluttered space that was once my life and mind left me feeling lonely. Even though they’re right in front of me, I miss my family. Even though it’s all around me, I miss Christmas. I miss waking up and being present.
It’s hard, isn’t it? I feel like the modern woman longs for superhuman abilities. We want to cook well, work well, take care of our family and home well…because we are the ultimate homemakers. We want solid relationships and calendars full of events and play dates…because we are the ultimate friend. We want successful businesses and accolades…because we are the ultimate entrepreneur. We want quiet times and Bible studies…because we are the ultimate, faithful Christian. We want book clubs and girls’ nights and birthday parties and potlucks…because we are able to just do.it.all. And so we try. We try to do it all and we find ourselves lonely.
Longing for less.
Feeling like we’re aiming at all the targets, but missing all the marks.
Is it just me?
I don’t know what 2016 holds for me, for our family, our plans and dreams, but I do know that change is coming. I heard the bells ring this morning, and I can’t “unhear” them.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, dear friends. Go, enjoy your loved ones. Find someone or a whole bunch of someones and love them like crazy this week and every week from here, on…