Monday, December 05, 2005

Blue December

I've been a little blue lately, and I would like to ask for your prayers. I'm usually so happy-go-lucky and buoyant, that I think my recent funky funk has Jason worried. But, everyone gets a little down now and then, and though my low periods are few and far between, they still occur.

My life is usually loaded with benefits (Psalm 68:19) -- blessings so bountiful and undeserved that I marvel at my Creator's love. So, it always strikes me as particularly ungrateful whenever my rose-colored glasses tinge purple. I know that I am held in Arms of Love and I will never, ever be forsaken, but the human condition is still so hard sometimes. Jason seems to think that faith should trump any hardship, but I remember that my Lord still sweated blood in Gethsemane -- and if He who knows the beginning and the end and all things between could still find and connect to the human heart that knows fear, worry, and desperation, then why should I not be allowed moments in the valley? These journeys to the vales just allow me to be lifted higher onto the mountain (and anything is better than a life lived on the plateau).

Any prayers you can spare are coveted and appreciated. This is shaping up to be a bummer of a Christmas season. I usually just love Christmas so much -- but this year we will be a lonely group of three, because neither Jason's parents nor mine are able to come and visit. Sadie keeps asking if her grandparents will come (both sets came last year!), and it is heartbreaking to say, "No." And this time of year always has the memory of losing my mom lurking beneath the surface, so I'm more emotional about a dearth of family-time than I might otherwise have been. My mother spent her last Christmas (1997) in Hawaii -- the next year she was dead. In the anger phase of my grief, I was so mad that she robbed me of that last Christmas. I'm tired of fractured holidays. Especially as my dad gets older, I worry about the passing of time, and I want to savor and treasure every memory with him -- so my frustration at our separation becomes palpable at this memory-laden time of year.

That's probably this biggest reason for this indigo haze, but, of course, there are a bunch of little irksome things that would be laughed off if I weren't so bummed out about Christmas. Hmmm ... it feels good to write it out -- I feel my sense of humor returning as I type. That stupid Judy Garland song from Meet Me in St. Louis is echoing, unwelcomed, through my head (there's a lot of space in there!): Have yourself a merry little Christmas/Let your heart be light/From now on our troubles will be out of sight/ ... /Some day soon we all will be together/If the fates allow/Hang a shining star upon the highest bough/And have yourself a merry little Christmas now. Sung in Garland's mournful, trembling voice -- yeeeach! Then that crazy little girl goes out and whacks all those snowmen's heads off -- definitely the high point in that treacly celluloid yawn-fest (sorry, vermonster). Sweet!

Hey! I have a lot more friends this year than last -- all my dear blogging buddies, for whom I feel such love and respect. And that is something to lift my shattered spirits forthwith and swell my heart with incredible gratitude. Peace of Christ to all, and a very merry Christmas!

11 comments:

Serena said...

I've been feeling a bit blue myself lately. I think it has more to do with Joelle's moving away than anything. Personally, I'm glad that I don't have to worry about Christmas anymore. That would be really tough with our financial situation and would be such a stressor.
Hey, have you thought of adding something different this year? How about checking into Hanukkah? It starts on the 26th and my little ones just love it, especially with the candle lighting ceremony for 8 days. Their little eyes just get all aglow. It is very simple to celebrate but so special for children and the story is so good for teaching them to stand up for the truth. I did both holidays for several years before we dropped christmas. Anyway, it is just an idea and something that might just help you over the hurdle this year.
I sure will pray, though, for I understand what you are talking about. That is why I love the Psalms. They are so real with how our feelings can be but always turning to the only One who makes it all worth while.
Love and shalom,
Serena

Flicka Spumoni said...

Sometimes I think learning to manage the blues is the primary dillema of motherhood.

Something is terribly broken in Christ's body today because we will only accept happy Christians. But, I'm convinced if God wanted me happy all the time my body would maufacture prozac in my marrow.

The fact of the matter is this: Jesus says, "Blessed are they who mourn for theirs is the kindgdom of heaven." Mourning is not only allowed, it is the gateway to blessing.

Jesus would not tell you to be happy but to persevere because there is a reward for those who do. Amen?

Bury your loss at Mamre as Abraham did Sarah and turn your face toward the promised land. And just remember that victory doesn't always come quickly but that Jesus walks with you always. He is near so do not be anxious.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

Serena said...

Wow! that was beautiful, Flicka! How about a blog post on it? It is so true and I've been around those who expect you to always be on top of everything, especially the emotions. It is draining. I'm glad that I know some real people here with real struggles and not afraid to open up about it.
Love and shalom,
Serena

Billy D said...

We all ride that crappy roller coaster, but for every down there's an up. Things always get better (haven't they alwasy up till now for you?) and that won't change.
Look up dearie! God's winking at you now!

Arielle said...

My life is frequently lived on the plateau. I tend to feel a little wistful sometimes when I remember the highs that I used to experience. Then again, I'm not so sure I miss the lows that came with that.

I figure I may just be in hibernation mode right now.

And Flicka, yes, that was beautiful.

Serena said...

Didn't you know that those nursing hormones do that? They go a long way towards making a mother more calm as she needs to be with little ones. The more babies you nurse, the more the effect will accumulate. Also our Father's work in us is to bring us to that state of contentment, where we don't have extreme highs and extreme lows, but learn to keep our emotions subject to Him.
Love,
Mom

CrazyJo said...

I tried to post a couple days ago, but Blogger wasn't working. I actually saved what I'd written, so I'll do that handy-dandy copy & paste stuff:

Christmas tends to be a difficult time of year for me. My dad was the one who made Christmas so special. He loved it, and always made it fun. My birthday is Dec. 13th, so we usually tried to decorate the tree on or around that date. When dad moved out after going into the gay lifestyle the holidays just weren't the same. He tried harder, spent more money, etc, but it was never the gifts that made the time special. It was the little things, like the ritual of decorating the tree - the way he'd hand the ornaments out one by one and we'd find that "perfect" spot on the tree for it. It was the trees themselves - one year the greenhouse he worked at ran out of trees, so my dad had a big tumbleweed flocked. It was so pretty! In Florida he made a tree by attaching pinecones to a big wire cone. There was always something fun and different!
Anyway, when our family changed, the holidays unfortunately changed with it. I stopped doing Christmas a few years back, I just really couldn't see the point anymore. I'm not sure how my husband and I will handle holidays. He didn't do Christmas growing up, but he's not really interested in Jewish/Biblical holidays either. I just want to have something for our children.
I hope you get through this down time quickly, Justine. And I've never been a "happy" Christian (something I sometimes really struggle with). I wonder sometimes, where is the joy? It's one thing to know I could/should have it, but getting it is entirely different. God doesn't promise us no difficulties and a life of sunshine. It's just that sometimes I feel like He enjoys making my life hard. I know that isn't true, but it's how I feel and it's hard to shake the feelings sometimes. I know I struggle with having a right, good view of God.
Anyway, I'm rambling on here and not sure where I'm going. I'll be praying for you. :) I too am thankful for all my blog-friends. It would be much harder to do this move without knowing that some things will not change, and I can take you all with me.

PS. Is it just me, or are those darn word verification things getting longer & longer??

Justine said...

After all of your nice and thoughtful words of concern and encouragement, I feel a little guilty in admitting that my blue mood fled shortly after posting. I think that writing out my disappointment about our reduced family party this Christmas really got it out of my system and re-focused me immediately upon the positive.

I guess I am one of those "happy" Christians. I mean, I've always been a pretty mellow, contented person -- quick to laugh at troubles, slow to weep. When I learned of the love of Christ and became reconciled to the Father, it gave me deeper joy than ever, and my already rare azure moments became more infrequent.

I will admit to another guilt: I have often felt frustrated with Christians who are perpetually gloomy. Carolyn Arends wrote a song called "Fragile," which was about a woman at her church who was constantly emotionally fraught and, well, fragile. In one of my few disagreements with CA's point-of-view, that song always got under my skin, because it seemed to glorify a perspective on life that seemed to me very self-centered and (as I implied in my post) ungrateful. But, the discussion we've had through comments here have been a revelation: to a naturally cheery person like me, such a roller-coaster attitude may be anathema, but to the Lord, it is just another variation on the human melody He began six days into Creation.

Regarding the plateaus -- well, of course we all (hopefully) spend most of our time on the plateaus -- but I know that none of us wishes to spend a lifetime on just one plateau. I do think that the low times are often just opportunities to re-focus ourselves to reach new heights -- i.e. the next plateau. Or, as Flicka put it so well, open a gateway for a blessing.

Joelle, I can relate to your ambivalence toward Christmas. After my parents' divorce, Christmas became more of a time of "War within the Houses" than "Peace on Earth." I have so many memories of constant bickering, one especially of my mom's being totally pissed off one year that Dad brought me to her house for Christmas dinner a little late in the day. Sheesh! I didn't really start to enjoy Christmas again until she passed away and I got married and started my own thing. I'm sure that you and hubby and Baby T will find new traditions of comfort and joy. It is hard, sometimes, to eradicate the bad associations, but your child(ren)'s delight and anticipation will go a long way. And, yes, not only are these word verifications getting longer -- they are getting harder to read!

Serena -- celebrating Hanukkah would be delightful! We used to celebrate Hanukkah for a few years shortly after my dad and (Jewish) stepmother got married. Then she pretty much became a Buddhist/Sikh and they stopped doing the whole beautiful Festival of Lights. We have celebrated Messianic Passovers with our church (I have my own Haggadah!), but have never done any of the Jewish celebrations in our house. Maybe I should see if I can get my parents' menorah. Nothing wrong with adding more joyous celebrations of the Lord's faithfulness to our family's roster of traditions!

Peace to all -- Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

Difster said...

Joelle,

Christmas isn't an especially happy one for me this year either since I'm going through a divorce.

I was still stuck in Georgia this time last year after my wife took my daughter and came back to California.

I think it's going to be a few years for me before I can enjoy Christmas again.

BUT...

I know that I'm in God's hands. Faith doesn't make you happy; it's not meant to. In fact, I'm not aware of any place in the Bible that even talks about happiness in any meaningful way.

Joy is something else entirely. You can be sad and joyful at the same time. Even if this is a sad time of year, you can find joy in your family, your friends and especially in your relationships with your Savior.

I'll try and remember to keep you in my prayers.

Serena said...

Justine, you could even make a hannukiah with Sadie and that would be a fun project. The most unusual and touching hannukiah that I ever saw was at the little holocaust memorial in the old city in Jerusalem. It was made of dried potato pieces and they had done it secretly in the concentration camp to celebrate the festival. You could do something out of the kind of dough that you can bake and color or paint. I know I used to make ornaments out of it. I think it was a mixture of flour and salt and water. I know there is also some craft stuff that you can get that can be shaped and baked but I don't know what it is called. I'm sure there are lots of places online with ideas and directions, too. We have a few hannukiahs already, but I may do a project with the children this year and make one. I don't think we have one for everyone in the family yet because we keep giving them away when we meet someone who wants to do the festival. Last year I ended up using birthday candles because I couldn't find any hannukah candles where we live and didn't have a chance to get into the bigger city where there is a Jewish population to get some. We have some for this year but not enough for all the hannukiahs, so maybe I should get into the city and get some yet. Anyway, I'll encourage you to give it a try. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.
Love and shalom,
Serena
oh, and do you try to make works out of the word verification, too? I'm bad about that and license plates, too.

Andrea said...

I'm glad you're feeling better, Justine. I've gone through my low moments over the past few months too. Seems I'm quicker to post when I'm feeling down than when I'm in a good mood...I should change that habit. I think it really helps to have a goofy little kid around to help me snap out of it. Life's too short and I'm too blessed.
The others are right that this is a great time of year to start new traditions in your own household. Hope you have lots of fun with Sadie this Christmas and/or Hanukkah!

Have a great weekend :)