A different response & undercurrents of joy

The last few days haven't exactly gone as planned. Somehow, I managed to rip the handle off our relatively new car door on our Subaru?! On my way to bring the car into a body shop to have a new door handle put on, I was driving down I-35 and a rock hit the windshield and chipped it.

That same morning, I was trying to meet a friend for morning coffee, but Nicholas and I remembered at the last minute that he needed a gift for a work party, so a last minute shopping trip needed to be squeezed in. Morning coffee became midday coffee.

When I got to my friend's house, she was exhausted from a long morning since her sweet little boy didn't want to nap. We took turns bouncing and holding and ate our lunch and drank coffee in shifts and went for a walk to soothe him. We didn't wear makeup and there were a few moments when we almost cried. But we talked about His goodness on the hard days, how these are the day when nothing sustains us, but Him. With things that break and babies that we adore even when they don't want to sleep, we circled back to His sustanance. We prayed and we knit a little (or at least talked about it!) and felt tired, but happy.

The almost-crying (or full-blown crying) seems to be happening a lot lately. I've teared up at work, from moving patient interactions. I've cried at the beauty and wonder of snow in central Texas last week, not because this born- and raised-Minnesotan hasn't seen snow before, but because snow here is rare and special and inspires awe. It made me think of "Too Good," by Jess Ray. I cried at a radio call-in show on the way to the grocery store today. It would be easy to say, "Get ahold of yourself, Andrea." I don't want to allow my emotions to rule me, to allow them to run the show. And sure, I could blame it on hormones or the nostalgia of this time of year, or whatever other variables I want to blame it on. But really, I'm not upset about the tears and for me and my personality, the consequent heart softening. In fact, I'm thankful. As I've written about in the last month or so, in Decembers past, it's much easier for me to put my head down and trudge ahead, as I allow myself to be entirely overwhelmed with buying and giving and mailing and exchanging and decorating. But this year I've taken a different approach in what I'm doing, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised at the difference in how I'm responding.

There are inherently busy things about December, yes. And I'm not entirely avoiding them or excluding myself from them. But there is a difference in my December this year. There is an acknowledgement of hurt and unrest and sadness that comes from being far from family and in a season of waiting. But peeking out, or rather blazing through is the hope I feel, the thankfulness for the reminder of the beginning of Jesus' life earthside, and ultimate gift of His life in exchange for ours.

Today might have been busy, with errands around town, one last post office drop, and fixing the windshield on the car, but there is beauty in those things. And there can be remembrance in stopping by the library and buying coffee and peppermint extract at the grocery store. We should take moments to stop and praise, but on the days when we can't pause life to stop and worship, sometimes the worship happens as we move through the entirely ordinary. And so the tearful moments in the midst of just regular life? Those are okay. I don't want to look back on my life and see that I choose to be in awe and I take the time to worship only when I had time. No, I want to look back and see that the awe and the worship for my Creator were there, right alongside the everyday, the no makeup days, the tired days, the homesick days, the weary days, the joyful days. And above all, I want to recognize that an undercurrent of joy is what sustains me, through the busy Christmas season, and all the other seasons, too.

The other things that tugged at my heart this week for one of many reasons:

  • cinnamon rolls from a can
  • baby smiles and snuggles
  • a mini Dairy Queen blizzard (the candy cane seasonal one)
  • a book about Hygge, from Nicholas, found in my stocking
  • helping a friend get unstuck on her mitten knitting
  • finishing the very last of the surprise Christmas gift knits (I still have Nicholas' hat, but he knows about it :)
  • plans for cookie baking and gift exchanging with two dear friends
  • sitting by the Christmas tree as much as possible
  • wearing a scarf inside and outside
  • crunchy leaves on the ground (for the reference, apart from the snow, our weather is like September/October in the midwest)
  • snuggles in our very favorite flannel sheets
  • baking these almond shortbread drizzle Christmas cookies
  • coffee with two friends, on back to back days

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