Take it Down a Notch, Santa
December 13, 2019
Every time I hear “Here Comes Santa Claus,” which, you know, for me is every day, I think
“Oh, hold up Santa! You can’t come yet! Not one Christmas gift is wrapped, I’m only in the 2nd wave of Christmas cards (2nd wave=all the ones I forgot in the 1st wave,) I haven’t really baked anything, etc, etc, etc. Anybody else feeling that way?
Quite honestly, yes, I have ALL of the listed above still to do, but that’s not the real reason I want everything to slow down. What is the real reason, you ask? Well, besides the fact that I just LOVE Christmas (see previous post,) the truth is I’m at a place in my life where I’m painfully aware of how quickly time is passing.
We are empty nesters, which, truly, is really hard for me. I’m a nurturer and, with the passing of my beloved dog, Cassie, there is no one left in my home to nurture on a daily basis. Yes, there’s the hubby, but he’s really not as fond of my “nurturing” him as one might expect. Go figure…
Our youngest is 22, another male who is not crazy about the nurturing mother at this stage in his life, and even 3 of our 4 grandkids are double digit ages – imagine how fun gift-buying is this year (insert eye roll.)
Beyond that, I’m finding this year that my precious parents are arriving at the age where physical things – things like getting Christmas decor from the attic, putting together the Christmas tree and the like – are pretty difficult for them. It’s so great that we live close and I can be there for them when they need me, but I have to say that this stage is hard for me. It’s hard to see the aging process happen to people you can’t imagine life without.
All of that, plus, you know, my enneagram 7 personality, as mentioned before, just dreading December 26 – when it’s all over.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense to any of you AT ALL, or that I even know exactly how I’m feeling or what I’m trying to say, except that time is marching on.
Sometimes I sit back and think about life; I think about those years as a single mom and wonder,
“Was I a good enough mom? Does R have good memories of his childhood or do most of his memories include his mother running around with her hair on fire, trying so hard to ‘make it all happen?’
Have I lived my life intentionally? Have I made a difference? Have I taken time to realize and appreciate all the wonderful things, experiences, people that my life has been blessed with? Have I slowed down long enough to take even a fraction of it all in?”
Yes, if you could be inside my head – and I SO pray you never are, for BOTH of our sakes – these are the thoughts you’d find so often floating around, hanging over me like a dubious rain cloud.
Some people who know me are probably really surprised to hear that these thoughts plague me at times. I’m the loud, funny, extrovert who loves people, is good at “lightening up” the atmosphere and mood and probably appears not to have a care in the world. But, along with all of those characteristics mentioned are others; characteristics that are possibly easier to hide, but much more difficult for me to deal with: perfectionism, FOMO (fear of missing out), sadness for no reason, discontentment and others.
So often it seems that the driving force of my life are phrases like,
“Make the most of today!” “Do it up as big and as excellent as you can!” “You can and should be able to do this and so much more!”
This basically boils down to this one awful, little word; a word that unfortunately can easily and frequently define me, if I allow it to. It’s the word
Ever heard of it? I’ll bet you have. Now, some of you may be thinking,
“That word’s not so bad. We should strive to be all we can be, do our best, etc.” And, in some ways, I agree. The problem for me happens when I allow myself to strive in my own strength and feel like all that I have to do has to be done in my own strength. I shudder just to type that, actually.
Because, here’s the thing: God never, ever meant for us to do anything in this life in our own strength. His plan is for us to rely on Him, refresh in Him and rest in Him. Truly!
It’s no doubt that God has a plan for each of us. Most likely, that plan, if we could see the whole thing, would prompt us to take down the Christmas tree, return all the gifts and stay in bed until Spring Break. Yep, His plans for us are honestly THAT. BIG. But, the great thing is, we don’t have to accomplish those plans ourselves – HE accomplishes them in us and through us. It’s really that simple, guys. All we have to do is stay with Him.
So, how do you do that, you might ask? Well, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably well aware that this area is one of great struggle for me, but I’m feeling and living my best life when I am including God in every part of my day, when I’m in His word, praying that it changes me and just living a grateful life.
It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Right. If only.
Part of not striving for me includes living life more slowly, taking time to “stop and smell the roses,” as they say. (Whoever “they” are; “they” are so smart!) It means to choose to stop looking at “what needs to be done” and instead look at “all I did get done!” It means enjoying the good times and allowing the rough times to change me: to just continue to trust God. Isn’t it crazy how most of it always comes down to trust?
So, yeah, I’m feeling a little nostalgic at the moment; I’m wishing it really could be “Christmas all year round,” as the song says. Because, if you ask me, at Christmas there are more miracles, much more joy in the world…and the hubs is just a little less concerned about the credit card bill – a TRUE Christmas miracle!
So, if life is moving a little too quickly for you, join me in hiding that “To Do” list; put some Christmas music on, admire your beautiful Christmas tree, look at some photos of your kids with Santa and count your many blessings. Oh, and also eat some shortbread cookies.
And, Santa, if you’re reading, I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that it wouldn’t necessarily be a BAD thing if you and the reindeer get snowed in for real at the North Pole this year – I mean, you know, just for an extra week or 2. That’s reasonable, right?
and above all else love