This last Christmas began a new season in my life, the boys all grown up causing childhood traditions to mature right along with them. Having to face my first Christmas in 52 years without my dear mom since her passing, a brother’s intensifying battle with Lewy Body Dementia, along with other family dynamics that have sadly been altered.
Where do you go for a Merry Christmas when your riding a cowabunga big wave of grief ? Longing to cram all my sorrow and mourning into a sturdy suitcase perching myself on top of the lid to secure all its’ contents, making absolutely sure all gets packed up completely for a one way ticket far far away. Aware this a not a healthy way to process grief… stuffing your feelings result in delayed hardships. Knowing this all to well from previous unpacking of overcrowded luggage of past abuse and loss, trying so hard to make it go away. So I ride the wave and “be present in the moment” as my friend so graciously reminds me from time to time. Letting tears, and the memories of past joys come as they may, giving myself permission to grieve and allowing uncomfortable emotions to visit my reluctant soul. What is gone is gone and what has changed has indeed changed; at least for now. Bringing to mind Doris Day’s Classic song:
“Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
And so it was during my husband’s recovery from meniscus surgery last month as we entertained ourselves snuggling up on the couch to Net Flix marathons. One night after scrolling through our options we decided to watch ” The Ballad of Lucy Whipple” with Glen Close. Before the movie began Kevin casually said “maybe something in the movie will speak to us”. Truly it was a kind and rather hopeful thought, seeing I was grumpy, hormonal, and needing a platter of crackers to go with my whine. Giving him a faint smile I continued to mope on the recliner sofa with my loving husband and two of our three cuddly dogs; straining to find joy and shake off the weight of depression. As the movie unfolded my ears perked up to glean the “take aways”. Throughout the show little nuggets of truth revealed themselves as scene after scene unfolded. However, my biggest “take away” was saved for last, when Lucy’s father spoke this juggernaut thought, “Change is a gift… Though some change is unpleasant, where would we be without the gift of change ?”
Hmm … seems the Lord is having me go around this familiar mountain again having already gotten the memo, even wrote a blog called “Welcome Change”. T’is sad to say, but I’m indeed a slow learner at times, and retrieving past knowledge can come with its’ difficulties. So… once again I will try to embrace change, look for silver linings, allowing myself gift of grace if there seems to be a cloud without one. I will sit in grief and stand up inside to accept change. Scouting out new creative ways to celebrate my past and gaze with hope for my future.
Thus, this holiday season I set my sites on making my brothers famous Christmas fudge. This little endeavor would be a labor of love and an exercise in prayer, unable to recall the last time I made fudge let alone his “famous” recipe. Determined to be his hands which now can no longer make his beloved Christmas tradition.
Tears spilled on my mom’s well worn Better Homes and Gardens cookbook as it lay open, looking for his special recipe. Experiencing the gravity of her absence , reminiscing how my childhood family once was, identifying with Dante’s quote” There is no greater grief , then the misery of recalling happier times “. Pouring into the bowl four cups of sugar to execute the recipe , yet it still remained bitter sweet. God’s word comes to mind as He promises us, “weeping endures for the night but joys come in the morning”.
In the morning much to my delight the fudge had turned out delicious and I had the joy of presenting my dear brother a Christmas plate of cherished Christmas fudge.
Lord, thank you that you turned bitter waters into sweet. Bringing sweetness to the bitter things of life. Causing us to hope in You when all our hope seems gone. Turning prisoners of hopelessness into prisoners of hope, chained only to your goodness and unfailing mercy and love. We love you
‘Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.”
Zechariah 9:12 ESV
Psalms 119:26-28 “I have declared my ways and opened my griefs to You, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on and talk of Your wondrous works. My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your word.”
“You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.”
― Jay Asher