Thursday, December 25, 2014
It started with little things...... the nail that broke to the quick just as I was praying, "Thank you, God, that my nails are long and strong for the Salvation Army fingerpickin' gig." What's with that?
Then there was the dreadful root canal episode. Does it get any worse than this? You're sitting there in the chair with that rubbery thingy holding your mouth open, you're trying to think happy thoughts (like no root canals in heaven), when, over the penetrating din of the drill, you hear someone burst into the front office and shout, "Wow! Some old lady just side swiped a car in your parking lot!" How do you instinctively know it's your car? Because it's December, that's why. And you know December is on your tail. And there's nowhere to run. (and then that night when you think you can finally relax, you feel your crown swirling around your mouth in the meat loaf).
My dear friend, Laurie, has been extremely sick these last two months. Two surgeries, then a nasty infection... bed ridden throughout the holidays. It seems December is creeping up on her, too. I've warned her.
December started taunting me many years ago when my dad died on December 3. We packed up the kids, kissed our lovely new tree and decorations goodbye, and made the road trip from FL to GA to mourn. Then many years later Greg was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December. We went straight from the neurologist to a Christmas party, hoping to siphon a little merriment from the season before having to process that horrific news. And you may remember two years later, he went to Hospice on the last day of November and died January 2. That December was so..... well you can imagine and I don't have the words. December has been stalking me ever since.
And each one tries to assert its own tyranny, present its own challenges and, of course, lend itself to my spiritual formation and ultimate triumph over the evil that pervades this world. I find that when I get tired of running, I turn around and face it and, like Gandalf to the terrifying Balrog in the Mines of Moria, I lift up my magical staff and scream out, "You... Shall... Not... Pass!" December, unlike the Balrog, has a way of cowering. When I get my courage on, I can turn it into a wee mouse and send it scurrying for the nearest hole.
And there stands joy in it's place! Like when the superglue held my nail back on through hours of performing (and it's still holding). Like when the collision in the parking lot of the dentist miraculously resulted in only a few superficial scratches to the paint (and I DIDN'T swallow my crown that night).
And Laurie and I have spent countless hours together, just being together and having time to talk, talk, talk, and do some serious girlfriend bonding. Some friendships outlast even superglue.
And today. Another Christmas Day finds me back in Hospice...this time with Morris. He suffered a massive stroke on Monday. The nurse just said she thinks this will be his final day on this earth. His adopted family (us) will be gathered by his bedside to send him on his final journey. Sorry, December, you're not even close to wreaking havoc this time. I got here just in time Tuesday to have him look me in the eye, smile, raise his hand to stroke my cheek and feel my hair, and squeeze my hand. He's been unconscious ever since. It's just the way he wanted to go, and we were all so worried that the cancer would drag him through the mire before releasing him to the sweet hereafter.
So we are grateful that CHRISTMAS comes in December. And the power of the babe in the manger overwhelms and overcomes the darkness, and lights the way for each of us as we walk this beautifully unpredictable path we call life. From small, silly things to the most profound issues we face, He is our refuge, our strength and our assurance that Love always wins!
Merry Christmas! God bless us every one!