I had a great Christmas. I hope you did too!
I had a tough couple of weeks before Christmas. In addition to the usual Christmess I get myself into by worrying about doing ALL the right Christmas things right, it seems lots of my friends are blowing up lately.
I have a friend who filed for divorce this month and one who is trying hard not to against insurmountable odds.
I have a friend who is dying of cancer and leaving a couple of kids whom I have directed in shows and of course grown fond of. She has been given two months. I can't decide what to do to help them and not knowing has left me paralyzed. Her husband must not know what to do either, cause he decided he could not stay around and so he just left them all. While praying for these poor kids and thinking about how horrible it must be for a mother to have to leave her kids; I am still struggling to understand my other friend who decided in her pain and desperation not to stay alive for her kids and I wish she could have traded in her hours to someone else if she were going to check out early. I don't mean to be insensitive. Both women and children were/are suffering. Both husbands left the suffering women in their hour of need.
I have a friend who has a physically and mentally handicapped son and my wonderful talented friend and his salt of the earth wife continue to struggle with the reality of the constant crisis of their son's condition which has escalated lately.
I have an acquaintance with a brain tumor and two middle school kids. Her husband had open heart surgery this week for a dangerously damaged heart.
I have three close friends who lost their parent this year and one of them just a day before Christmas. Not a lot of glad tidings of good news this year.
Truth be told, all of this was augmented by my own physical limitations and the stress of having a husband in a high pressure newish job who leaves no stone unturned nor i undotted or t uncrossed, before he comes home late to relieve me of the duties of 3 flu sick kids spread over 5 busy weeks.
See? I feel sorry for everyone, including myself.
In a moment of "too muchness" I was praying one of those prayers that are best done prostrate with legs and arms flailing. In other words, I was having a spiritual temper tantrum. I asked a question I have asked many times before while pondering the injustices of life:
"God, WHERE ARE YOU in this situation?"
I am not schizo and I am not special, but this time, I swear I heard a very calm answer to my question.
"You are asking the wrong question. Where is this situation IN ME?"
That changed everything. Of course. Of course. Life is not the destination. It is the line to get in. Or as I have thought before, life is not Disneyland. Life is the line to get into Disneyland. Imagine if none of us had ever been to Disneyland and those who had could not come out again. We were in this line because maybe some of us had heard tell of it, and others just stood in line without knowing what they were in line for. Imagine how it would be while we were waiting day after day in the blistering sun and pounding rain for our turn to get in. It would be better for those who knew there was a line than those who just thought this was all there was.
Imagine if someone we loved was admitted into Disneyland but not knowing for sure that was what was on the other side of the turnstyle we wailed and flailed at the loss of our loved one and the injustice in the timing of their disappearance.
Even while waiting in line, there are the daily beauties of a rainbow or a sunset or a beautiful day. Following the loss of your loved one, you would feel sad to not have the privelege of sharing this beauty with your beloved.
And what if having pity on the people in line, the proprietors of Disneyland sent out some refreshments and maybe even a character or two to entertain. I think the person who had lost their loved one might say, "Oh how they would have LOVED THIS! What a shame they are not around to enjoy all this and they were taken before they could even experience any of this"; never for a second imagining that it is just a taste of the amazing magical kingdom the beloved is enjoying on the other side of the gates.
Maybe comparing Heaven to Disneyland is goofy, but I think about it a lot and it gives me peace.
I get very bothered by injustice. It is common for people to answer my complaints by saying "life is not fair!" I hate that. I remember the first time I ever heard it. An unattractive high school coach was saying it because she felt that if life were fair she would look like Liz Taylor. I think that is totally missing the point of life. I even thought so then. How stupid. How shallow. However, I was bothered by it cause I think it is untrue. My reply to her was "I don't care if life is unfair, as long as heaven is fair". I believed that at 15 with no help (or hurt) from church. I still believe it. It just seems like that's the whole point.
SO what am I saying? I expect to be skinny in heaven? I expect to be organized in heaven? No, although in my stupid dailyness of living I think these things matter more than they actually do. I guess what I am saying is that if heaven is to earth as Disneyland is to the line outside of Disneyland; then I won't care a bit about how I measure up to the others in that line, what I am wearing on the day I get admitted nor anything big or small that happened on the way in. I'll be having too much fun getting my mind blown by the special effects and the thrill of hugging the fuzzy characters I somehow feel I've owned and known all my life though never actually met in person.
So this is my Christmas wish to you (and to me, frankly) in the season of hope when hope seems to be in short supply. Whatever you are going through big or small, I hope that somehow knowing it is NOT the whole story will give you peace. Even for someone like me who desperately wants to be the author of my story and the protagonist in it; it is a tremendous relief to remember that I am just another beloved character in the heart and mind of the Creator. It's a small world, after all. God bless us every one!