Being Still

I expected Easter weekend to be full of far flung friends gathered for a special wedding celebration—a dear friend united in marriage in the witness of many other dear friends.

A big celebration surrounded by many other little celebrations of a community separated and once again united for a weekend.

As shut downs and shelter-in-places spread across the world, the celebrations are delayed, the wedding postponed as we all wait for the unknown.

Our plans all yielded…

We may never be so closely linked in experience or feeling with the followers of Christ this Easter season. The joys of Spring Break in early March feel like Palm Sunday when life seemed like it was going well. An expectation of wonderful Spring!

The snowball of our restrictions parallel the turn of events during Holy Week as Jesus went from a heralded king to a hunted and betrayed man. Life turned upside down for Jesus’ followers.

A much anticipated celebration season flipped to unexpected mourning.

As they witnessed Jesus’ procession with His cross, this man they had followed everywhere for three years, did they think what we think now about our plans…this should not to be? I never saw this coming?

And, when Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb and the Sabbath began, and they sat in their homes did they sit stunned like we do now?

I don’t know what is next? Life as I know it is flipped upside down. What happens when this is over? When we emerge from our homes to a new reality? The ones passed over and not taken by this pandemic.

We wonder about our jobs, whether our kids will go back to school, what our community will suffer. The disciples also worried about their jobs and their lives… what they would suffer when those in power came looking for them the first chance they could leave their home.

Our world, with so many people, has never been so still as on this Passover, this Easter weekend. I have never experienced alongside so many others such uncertainty about what is next.

With all the unexpected quiet and stillness in my home right now, all the itching eagerness to escape and do something, anything else…I identify with Jesus’ followers in a new way this weekend.

Unlike them, I have the hope of knowing the next part of the story for us as followers of Jesus. The joy of the resurrection. The assurance of redemption and the security of a new purpose as His follower that the disciples would soon discover.

But, this weekend, I can identify with them…a party weekend upset and turned into a weekend of wondering quiet waiting for a new, uncertain day.

On Christmas Lists

It’s that time of year when its 80 degrees outside, supposed to be fall, yet holidays are coming. The main way that I know the holidays are coming is that there are holiday things in the grocery store seasonal aisle. And, all that really means is that there will be that holiday sometime in the next 6 months.

But, each year the whole Christmas List thing gets a little stressful. I see that seasonal aisle and I know I cannot escape it much longer. Christmas shopping.

Follow along to see how it plays out in our family. Beware, you might get stressed.

In our house, I usually start asking our kids what they’re thinking for Christmas in about October. Kind of a shot over the bow type situation on a casual walk…just feeling them out.

Our kids lists’ are kind of funny sometimes. One year our middle kid asked for a new mattress after discovering that the absolute cheapest mattress at IKEA wasn’t his jam after a few months. He’s all in to comfort.

This year he asked for a certain gaming controller then we looked it up on Amazon. We decided maybe he should go to college rather than have that controller.

Then, my husband and I think of things they might like or need. Ok now, that is truly a deep experience in figuring out how well we really know our kids. Are they still in to LEGO Star Wars or have they moved on? Is my daughter going for atheleisure or is she going for smart casual these days?

I don’t know! Who am I as a mother to not know these things!? Ack. Insecurity.

My husband is a very frugal man. Not cheap. Frugal. There’s a difference. The wish list then morphs into an ever narrowing target as he hones in on the bulls eye of Christmas gifts. The gifts that will be used, loved, and passed on to grandkids. The criteria is tight and rigorous.

They usually like the gifts he thinks of the best, better than my gifts. Yes, we compete for the affections of our children and we don’t like to face it.

My contribution is usually in the category I’ll call whimsy. What will be fun for them? Refer back to that paragraph on whether I really know my kids and you’ll see that’s like shooting an arrow with absolutely no archery training.

Ha. It could land literally anywhere and sometimes hits the bulls eye but only sometimes.

So, if you have powers of interpretation, are you seeing that my husband and I have some interesting conversations as we put together the list on our pretty modest budget?

You’re smart then. Give yourself a pat on the back. I bet you’re trying to figure out what number on the Enneagram we are. We are too.

I haven’t even gotten to the list strategy wherein we need to give suggestions to other members of the family. In the past, I’d make the mistake of giving out the choice bulls-eye gifts to other members of the family, much to my husband’s consternation.

Then we, the parents, would have another “date” breakfast to deal with more stress trying to figure out still more great gifts so our kids knew we loved and knew them the absolute best on Christmas morning.

Ok, maybe you’ve noticed that we haven’t even gotten past the kids at this point? True, true. We have not! Next up, what do we get parents and grandparents and cousins and siblings and….phew.

Merry Christmas? Not feeling it yet.

The past few years, I’ve come to the end of all this gift listing, strategizing, planning and just could not muster up the energy for my own list. What do I want? I have no idea…go figure it out. It probably has to do with clothes, kitchen gadgets, or travel.

Heck, just give me cash if you’re as worn out as I am and I’ll decide in March after I’ve recovered from the holidays.

So, the holidays are coming and you can pray for us. That’s the point of this blog post. We need prayer!