I’ve been fighting (sometimes hard) for joy this Christmas season. There is a lot to fight for – joy with Niece and Nephew, joy in the very fact that there is a Savior, joy in being off work, etc. But there is also a lot to fight against. This is the first Christmas without my beloved Maw-Maw, who died in January. My dear, sweet friend Amy lost her husband on May 9 to brain cancer – he was 35. Tomorrow? Christmas day? He’d be 36. And as always…there is me and my aloneness. (Cue world’s smallest violin, as though it actually doesn’t have anywhere better to be this Christmas, so it can play me a sad song.)
Now, let me go on record as saying that until today, I haven’t even remotely given thought to my own situation. I’ve been so worried about my mom, or my friend, or everything and everyone else with what I recognize as real problems that I haven’t even given thought to my lack of husband/children. I have even been dating, ever so slightly (nothing to report, I promise!), so I feel…hopeful (not about any of the dates, mind you, but about the situation in general). I’ve been busy working (long-term sub job in a third-grade classroom that took me right up to actually GETTING A JOB, which I promise to tell you about soon). But suddenly…
Do y’all Facebook? Because I do. And I have found that I have to be very careful, and in the last two days I have learned that I have safe zones and safe “updates,” if you will, and that there are updates that I can’t allow myself to see. I can’t allow myself to see status updates of acquaintances who are pregnant. I can’t allow myself to see updates of acquaintances who are engaged. I can’t allow myself to look at happy family Christmas photos, because then I go there. Then my mind delves deep into the jealous pit that dwells there, and I have a runny-mascara crying fit at 11:10 on Christmas eve. (Hey, it happens.)
Part of this is natural grief and sadness, sure, and it is best to feel it when it comes and move on. I am very sad that my Maw-Maw is gone, and I am sad that my mom is sad. I am heartbroken for my friend Amy and I am sad and a little disheartened, sure, that Scott is gone. But like something I read earlier today said, I can’t change what has happened. I can choose how I react.
In the meantime, I guess I have to get back to keeping a safety firmly in place. On a gun or a machine, a safety is designed to prevent erroneous or haphazard or dangerous operation. That’s what my safeties have to be. They are preventing erroneous operation of my mind. And for the record – it’s such a commandment-breaking error – it’s not that I just have to have what “they” have. When I really sit back and look at what I want, I am excited about the path I am currently on. And while of course I am always open to marriage (and to kids), if they came along now, some of my plans would change pretty drastically, and I am okay with that NOT happening. It’s just coveting…it’s just longing to have what is had by someone else. It’s commandment breaking. And it needs to be stopped. That is why the safety is there.
Speaking of safety, this verse came to mind, and I am so thankful for it. Because without Christmas, I couldn’t claim this verse as my own. But I will for tonight, because I can.
“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8
Merry Christmas, everyone…