It's been a challenging few months; Beloved has had struggles with her depression and her job; I've had a new job (which I love, but being new somewhere sort of demands that you raise the level of your game), and there have been a couple of other "extra effort" sorts of circumstances. I've had NO time to write, or even to think too deeply or for too long.
Which is, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. ;-)
And we're heading into December, which is generally my most stressful month of the year. But today I'm in a good place with it. The last few days have taught me some stuff; Beloved and I stayed home and had a quiet Thanksgiving together, and it's been a terrific weekend framed by wonderful worship services at my home church.
For the six of you who are still reading after this long hiatus, I shall spill out the wisdom that's presently in my tenuous grasp:
- In times of stress, sometimes you have to pare down to the essentials as a family. Being able to say "No, thank you" is a critical survival skill.
- Remembering to do something sweet and surprising during such a time can have extra impact. Beloved got me a "real" version of this piece of art, had it beautifully framed and gave it to me on Thanksgiving. Ummm...wow. I get a bit weepy just thinking about it. The Ruth passage it references was read at our wedding.
- Ask for help when you need it. (I know...duh, but I'm still working on this lesson, after years of Life's gracious re-presentation of opportunities to learn it.)
- Speak your truth, even when it's difficult. Sometimes the only way forward is through.
- Love is all around. Look for its impish grin peeking at you around corners and beckoning you.
- Finally, from Meister Eckhart: if the only prayer you say in your life is "thank you," that would suffice.
About that last one--though I find much of contemporary culture (at least that part that relates to getting/having/sharing our stuff) seriously out of whack, I have to say that a day set aside for pondering the gifts of our lives, and being thankful for them, is a not-so-distant relative of the Biblical concept of jubilee. In the same way that jubilee released people from debt and punishment, intentional thankfulness releases us from the bindings of fear and despair by reframing our vision.
- Instead of worrying about what might be, we see what is.
- Instead of focusing on the material (and its potential for loss), thankfulness rightly locates us in the abundance of God's mercy and love.
- Instead of ruminating about "I," we find ourselves in relationship with "Thou" (and "thou," and "thou," and "thou...").
This is all to the good, and I'm facing December with a lens of quiet confidence and with a singing heart...at least, for today.