Running Free though Not Alone


Adulting, here we are!!  (Like it or not.)

We have officially reached that stage of life where we can not control who is present at the holidays.  As young adults, we had a VERY difficult time during this stage of balancing a serious relationship in the midst of everyone's family traditions.  It was overwhelming, exhausting and disheartening...nothing at all representative of Thanksgiving or the birth of the Christ.  (And on this topic, I could go on!  Suffice to say...). We decided early in our marriage, which also happened to be early in our parenting stage, that we would offer a plan for the holidays and be willing to welcome those who could come and give grace to those who could not.

We met our own challenge this year.  


The one and only...forever true to her origins...Nature Girl. 💕

Xander (20) had an opportunity we refused to refuse, and she was absent from all of our Thanksgiving festivities - probably the most harsh - the Great, Extended Family Picture.  I will admit.  It stung a bit that she is the only one not pictured this year.  (Even still, I took the photo myself.  Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and do what is required of you.  The world is troubled enough by the excess of people who are unwilling to do this.  Sigh.  Big HUGE sigh.)  With that said, I refused to manipulate her with guilt, and I, also, refused to wallow in sorrow.  I posed.  I did my due diligence.  

Of course, I HATE the way I look in the photo, and (as with every other year) Matt continues to insist on my overwhelming beauty.

I have exactly what I need to keep on keeping on.  Not that my entire stability depends on one fragile creature... 😱

After all, I insured myself with a mini-me...Smart, right?


Anyway...

Turns out, while in the process of slightly humiliating me, Evan did me a total solid.  We had a lovely time at my family gathering.  It really filled the gap of Matt's absence to have my people around me.  

And I brought along a little fun, card game Jeopardy I had picked up with some excess Kohl's cash.  

And when Evan wasn't able to answer the question about the Jamaican religion "Rastafarianism," he explained to the group that, "I don't know, because my mom doesn't take me to church anymore.  And I really want to go."

Convicted.

If you were in my situation, you would understand.  That's called "empathy."

I have definitely felt guilty about my affinity for Sundays in.  I am COMPLETELY distraught about the discontinuation of Saturday night church, because...can I PLEASE have one REAL sleep-in, sabbath kind of day???  And I will admit that I have allowed the CoVid shut-down to excuse me from in person services for the last couple of years.

My goodness.  I can't explain.  If you don't get it, you don't get it.  If you think I am over-reacting.  How can I, possibly, change your mind?  I will never convince ANYONE who has already set out their minds against me.  I will never receive praise from the one who insists on debasing my existence.  It is the only sane option that I, gracefully, move on from whatever judgment I feel.  

That said, it bears repeating...I am in over my head.  My circumstances are WAY beyond my competence.  I am just going to keep doing my best to get by and hope for a few friends who will give me grace (I happen to be fortunate enough to have a few.)  And if I have offended you or angered you or hurt you, for the love, PLEASE! talk to me.  I promise you, it was not ever my intent.

Sometimes, I push it too far.  Please keep in mind, I am often running on empty.  Literally AND figuratively.


So, of course, mom guilt won this week.  It happens that I also had a four day weekend to manage all of the laundry, cleaning, thanksgiving-ing and resting/recuperating.  (If only I had four days to recover every week.  If only...)

I dug deep and found the strength within to get myself, my husband and the boys to church this morning.  It has been awhile.  What a breath of fresh air!  The boys were both so willing and (obviously) glad to return to their own little version of normal.

Conviction can hit you in the most unexpected moments.  Great story...Team on the left was up 15,800 to 6,000.  But they made a fatal error in the final round.  They bet 6,000.  Team on the right went all in.  (Notice my son, in his baseball jersey on team right?). Guess the final round topic.  Baseball.  He won it all for his team.  Proud mama.
Me?  I cried...a lot.  My life has changed so dramatically in the last 7 years.  Change seems to be the theme.  Sometimes that is good.  Sometimes not.  It is almost ALWAYS beyond our control.  We have done our best to make the best of it.  But I have to admit to feeling isolated, like alone on a deserted island in the middle of the nothing-anywhere-nearby sea.

I am a rock.  I am an island.*

My safest place.  💕

And there, in the presence of a bunch of other completely faulted beings who had the same hope and faith that keeps me, I finally broke through the sense of alone.  I was surrounded.  Perfect or not, I found my way out of isolation and into a (better) sea of hope.  

And I am not alone.

Running Free!
Amen???  

Goodnight.  Here's to a blessed week ahead.



*Simon and Garfunkel, who also knew that "a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."

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