There’s this strange season in one’s life where the constant stretching forward to reach something, begins to spin around and you find yourself fumbling to hold on to something you don’t want to let pass.
Every step forward feels like one step away from a life you didn’t realize you were going to have to let go of. This holiday season things are changing around our home. This will probably be the last ‘just us’ Christmas, with everyone in the home and this shift is difficult to make.
This is the same emotional vortex of getting older, when you realize that the life that has passed is becoming greater than the life you are gong to live. This knowledge of the number of our days should birth in us the pursuit of wisdom…which compels us to discover the true life within our remaining days.
This wisdom helps you see the little things that used to annoy you or that you didn’t value as much take on a sacredness they didn’t once seem to hold. The older you get your natural eyesight may dim…but your spiritual vision opens more wide than the heart sometimes can handle. You begin to see moments as holy and the practice of your life becomes an act of worship in ways that before you could never understand. You see the gift of life and it’s fleeting opportunities in the fading dusk much more warmly than in the rising dawn.
These ‘revelations’ in life are sweet and bitter…much like the Apostle John wrote about:
“And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.” -Revelations 10:10
Like John, we too nibble on the moments of our lives and they taste so good going down and that goodness mellows the soul in ways few other things do. But there’s an aftertaste that’s bitter like the numbness of your hands after making snowman or the brain freeze you get from devouring ice cream to fast. The pleasure and pain of being is a confusing tension to learn to walk within.
Our days are scattered with small happenings and they are gifts that bring sprinkles of joy and yet, also produce an ache of sorrow. It’s a dual natured beast this thing called living and the ability to balance those moments is a difficult thing to absorb. Especially because the pace of it all increases beyond the heart and minds ability to savor it.
This Christmas I am trying to feast on the ‘little scrolls’ of the season, even though at this time in all of our family’s life, trying to find ‘together time’ is near impossible. So, I’ve just done my best to make better moments with each family member that I get a chance to be with.
So this year…Kona (my dog) and I put up the Christmas lights together, I straddled that life threatening tipping point between paralysis from a potential ladder fall and frost bite outside stringing lights and she barked at everything that moved, while following me around like I was lost. Austin and Micah and I set up the Christmas tree between sibling fights, Skyrim distractions and the lack of a mother’s wisdom on just how and where to set up unending boxes of decorations. I squeeze my daughter as she rushes off to her multitudinous number of Christmas events and try to catch up with my firstborn through his Facebook posts, breathless recountings between concerts, work and band practice. Crammed in between church, jobs, taxi duties and holiday events my wife and I try to string together the happenings with more of a dazed look of exhaustion than twinkles of lives being well lived…but what is one to do?
This is the conundrum of time…it’s always better experienced in memory than in the moment. Learning to reverse this trend is at the heart of true spirituality to me. Capturing the light of the day and holding onto it like a gift from an Angel and slowly consuming it and the revelation it gives on how to live the ways of God in the times of men.
This is not an easy task…if you think about it for awhile but this is real living, and I hope to celebrate with the heavenly hosts this Christmas, basking in this wisdom, even if I do it with…a slightly sour stomach.