In my last two posts, here and here, I shared about being open to the hope and the wonder of this Advent season. I mused on long darkness and piercing light and holy spirit smoke. I swelled with anticipation.
It's amazing how everything can change in a day or two.
My first week of Advent has been ripe with hard conversations, thwarted goals, and deep soul walking. There has been no lighting of the Advent wreath, no dwelling in Words of life, no mighty nesting instinct spurring me on to small acts of preparation.
Instead, there has been life.
And it has been drippy and sticky and complicated.
I lost every ounce of patience with my children, closed the door to the world and lamented my fate to the skies. And never fear, there was much cursing and clenching of fists.
I surveyed my house on several occasions and wondered how I could possibly want for more when I was already drowning in piles of paper and trinkets and dust.
And as people near and dear to my heart spun like dervishes in the wake of their own deep churning, I felt the strain of impotence.
But that is not all.
For "where there is life there is love" and this week delivered that, as well.
I learned the spiritual discipline of letting go... of control. of unrealistic expectations. of perfection.
Every year since we have been married, I have put up the Christmas lights. Not to take a stand on equality or anything else noble like that. No, I have always put up the Christmas lights because I am a control freak.
But this year found me committed to another task on the 65 degree December weekend that simply insisted be dedicated to donning holiday lights. And my husband and two boys needed something to do together. The answer was simple=put up the lights.
The lights did not go up in the order or manner they were supposed to. There were colored lights hanging all willy nilly from columns and door frames and I didn't understand the arrangement and it was.all.wrong.
I was just about to intercede on the behalf of Christmas lights everywhere and offer some constructive criticism when I felt my tongue freeze heavy in my mouth. Something stopped me. It was not because of anything generous in my own spirit. No, my mind was busy talking my body off the ledge of Christmas madness and encouraging deep breaths and closed eyes. No, something bigger and greater and wiser than me was taking over. And it was winning.
That is what love does. It wins.
And the other miraculous thing? I didn't put up a fight.
I let love win this one.
Something hard and brittle broke in me that day. A rigid cast of contention that I had made my uniform for all these years, it simply fell away.
And in its absence I could move. And breathe.
And now my sweet, little house shimmers with color and beauty and glory and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
That has been my Advent lesson this week.
quote: Mahatma Ghandi