The snow had fallen heavy on the world, like a down blanket one feather at a time. We woke up in the week after Christmas in a suburban Narnia, our world stilled. Even the shrubbery wound tight with lights outside my parents’ door was muted by the snow. We were stuck. Stopped.
But there is another reason why we could not fight our way back home. The minivan was at the local Garage after lurching and coughing up each incline of Central PA on our way to my family Christmas. We heard words like catalytic convertor and numbers that made us feel kicked in the gut.
And so plans slowed like the cars that inched past the house until we crossed out hours and days and each day there is a new agenda written which I had to accept.
And acceptance must come before the gifts can be unwrapped.
And I’ve learned that true joy must be birthed.
And that snowy week, what emerged were gifts piled high:
- chats in French/English with my belle soeur (isn’t “beautiful sister” so much lovelier than sister in law?) around the island chopping vegetables,
- my brother leaning over to hear my four year old’s stories on the ski lift in front of me,
- my daughter’s flushed cheeks, her not wanting the mountain to end,
- Caedmon cuddled on his Grandpa’s lap by the fire, talking low,
- salmon in poached wine with an especially earthy Pinot Noir,
- my six month old nephew’s gasping laughter, Xavier laying next to him, eye to eye,
- and the conversations that left us all full of hope.
And when the garage finally re-opened, had time to work their magic, our car traversed the mountains like a young-un. And then when we opened our front door late on the fourth, we were able to enter back into life restored.
But it is not just change I find hardest to accept…honestly, it is me. I entered the Christmas season exhausted and instead of tucking myself in, I pushed hard. I didn’t want to accept the truth of fatigue, of an end to myself. I didn’t want to slow, to take healthy steps toward self-care. Instead, I rummaged around in the kitchen for more sugar, more caffeine. I forced smiles.
This quote always makes me drop the shoulders, sigh deep, resign myself to a new honesty:
“The act of self-acceptance is the root of all things. I must agree to be the person who I am. Agree to the qualifications which I have. Agree to live within my limits…The clarity and the courageousness of this acceptance is the foundation of all existence,” Fr. Romano Guardini.
When I accept myself and my limits, I am being honest.
And who am I if not finite? Any plastic mask of perfect comes directly between me and Jesus. And it’s not Him I’m kidding. I’m the daughter of Eve. I’m the one who’s hiding. True acceptance must begin at the beginning.
I’ve recently picked up this ancient prayer again: Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. It’s known throughout the Eastern Orthodox world as the Jesus Prayer. I put it down four years ago after yelling it out in the delivery room where my sister was seriously freaked out. But, I’ve come back to the cry of the blind man. This single prayer is the essence of acceptance. I am a sinner and I need mercy from my Savior. Every. Single. Day.
It is the end to the superwoman and the beginning to mercy. It is the end of powering through and the opening of the door swung wide to grace.
This lovely photo with text found at This Lovely Truth here:
And you, Friend, what word or words have you chosen? Is there a resolution you are beginning to fight for? Do share with us.
And by the way, your presence here is pure gift. I hope you know that. If you want to receive more of “a thirst for God,” slip your email into the Connect box on the right side of the home page. Let’s pilgrimage together.
linking with the lovely storyteller Jennifer Dukes Lee here. Did you hear she has a book coming out…all about people pleasing. I’m going to have to get my hands on one.