Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Epiphany 2014

Writing is like laundry. (Okay fine... Bear with me). Anyway, when I write, I like to present tidy, folded articles of acceptable cleanliness. (This is not the way I do actual laundry, which regularly goes straight from the dryer to a basket from whence it is directly worn and dirtied before ever getting close to a folded state.) 

To take this (ridiculously poor) analogy further: my writing is stuck on the spin cycle at the moment. I have started several posts, only to abandon them because I just really want to see where things end up so I can dry and fold and make some presentable sense of what is going on for me right now. But I can't yet... that's the best explanation I can offer. So I guess I'm on sabbatical, living a "story" that I can write about later.

But I _always_ write a Christmas letter. Right?

Quiet moment in dressing room
Okay there, that's one thing: I was in the Christmas Carol again, with my older girls and a bunch of other neat people. Apparently Mr. Crachitt and I didn't get on too well, because I was told that this year I would be Mrs. Fezziwig, which I happily accepted because, well, she gets to dance and laugh more.  

Chaotic moment in dressing room, which I merrily instigated :)
As for the rest of the year... man this year, ha! What _do_ I want to talk about right now... Well, I did a bunch of acting and still am--got a good role in "The Philadelphia Story" for the end of January-- but my favorite and main role is always Mom. And my kids have grown and changed and I remain so proud of them all.

I had a hard time "relating" to Christmas this year. But I spent some time thinking about motherhood, which is a key aspect of the holiday after all.

I thought how, like Mary, we hold our babies, adoring them, wanting more than anything to protect them from any harm. When we think of possible dangers to our children, we see red. And then, pondering these things in our hearts, we turn too quickly because the oven timer beeped,and accidentally tap the little one's head on the arm of the chair. 

I suppose our own parents must've thought the same of us at one time, holding our tiny selves in their arms. And then life happened, with its skinned knees and false friends and unavoidable injuries. Missed chances. Unfortunate accidents. Hurt people who hurt people.

And here we are today, grown-up children, each of us with at least some scars and sad stories, each of us a broken person among a broken people. When it all started out with such wonder, joy, and innocence.

And somehow, this is all as it should be. Not the pain so much, but the growth that comes from the pain. We were meant to change. And grow, if not in strength, then in the capacity to allow God's strength to show through our very weaknesses.

This year, in the midst of the "holly jolly", I find I really have no comic stories at the moment. To be honest, I don't mourn the discarded trees on the sidewalk. At the start of December, I did dig out the advent wreath, but now that we are putting Christmas things away, I realize that I never actually lit it. I still have a lopsided tree perched atop the table, which is decorated but with not one ornament hung by me. I can see the Baby In the manger, but we have actually (literally) lost St. Joseph, and my halfhearted attempts to find a replacement have not been successful. So Mary and I look alone at the baby, born to carry all the sufferings of a sadly wounded world. And darn it... He's too small and cute for all that, isn't He?

I know salvation is the end result. But this Christmas, I look at the babe in the manger and I just don't understand. The "plan" seems really off right now. Angels sang and so did that darned Michael Buble and there were lights and gift and parties. But this year, I was the one with the myrrh. Which is still, oddly, a gift.

I hope you had the frankincense or gold this year, and I hope your Christmas was merry as well as blessed. Mine was blessed.  Even from behind this weird jar of embalming ointment I seem to be holding, I can see my Christmas was blessed. And good.

We are loved, my friends. Loved so much that our Creator, fully knowing how badly we can feel and ache and suffer with the simple miseries of being human, chose to experience it alongside us. And because He did, we can someday experience the joy we were made for in the innocent beginning, when there was no hurt and we were full of wonder.

Merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2015 to you all!  We'll be in touch, once I tend to the laundry.

``There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited,'' returned the nephew: ``Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!''                                                             --The Christmas Carol