Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"...Had just settled down for a long winter's nap..."

     There is this Christmas cartoon that I try to catch every year if I can find it on called "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  It's based on the the famous poem, of course, but the story involves a clock maker, Joshua Trundle, his family, and the family of mice, who incidentally can talk, that live in his house.  One of the mice children wrote a letter to Santa Claus that said that he was a fraud, Santa gets mad, and they all have to figure out how to make Santa happy again. Long story short they write Santa a song that is supposed to play though the town square clock at midnight, but they had problems making it work, so on Christmas Eve they give up hope and just go to bed...

     ...That's what I did this Christmas.

     After my last post, I realized I had some serious going overs and getting pasts to do. I had four full days, starting on December 22nd, to really think about an immensely hard 2012 through which I had, just like Joshua Trundle...and the mice, given up hope. The cartoon actually ends with Joshua reciting the "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" while Santa arrives because one of the mouse children fixes the clock and it plays the song and Santa is happy again. My husband Eric always loves the part when it says, "...had just settled down for a long winter's nap."

     Eric just really enjoys a good nap. I started to wonder when, on the weekends, I had stopped napping...

     I used to look at weekends as a time to relax, but somewhere over the last five years, I started looking at weekends as extra time to get a long list of "To-Dos" done. I had completely over scheduled my life and by the time I realized it, I was already too deep. It's taken the better part of the last six months to try and dig out of some of the responsibilities and over committing I've done.

     I have a theory about over scheduled people. They are so because they don't want down time. They don't want down time because that's when you have time to process the things that happen in your life. The only reason you don't want to process the things that happen in your life is they are just too painful. It's more than just a theory, I guess, because truly that was me. By the time I figured out I wanted to deal with everything I'd been avoiding, I couldn't find the down time to do just that. So somewhere around May, I started shedding activities.

     The problem I then had was while I was busy processing long time pains and issues, 2012 was doing its worse. I'm not going to say I had a totally bad year, because there were some truly awesome things and I came a long way as a person, but while still figuring out what had happened in my past, present day unpleasantness just kept coming. I almost feel as if the more sound person I had become was being tested and I honestly can't say that I didn't feel like waving the white flag in surrender... I settled down for a long winter's nap. I'm not saying I spent the whole four days in bed, it was Christmas after all; there are lights to see and dinners to be had! I did, however, take as many opportunities as I needed to be alone. I took as many opportunities as I needed to think. As many as I needed to cry.

     I had a surprising burst of tears and emotion Christmas Eve. To be honest, I wanted to be done processing so badly that I kind of shut it off the night before, but I got hit unexpectedly by a situation that had been part of everything wrong over the last year, so I went off to take yet another "nap." I remember as I sat there, tears uncontrollably streaming, that I was also praying. I remember saying, "You have to show me something tonight. I need to see it." What I needed to see so badly was the hope I hadn't been feeling a whole lot of lately. I needed to see the Holy Spirit that can only be found within creation.

     Going to church on Christmas Eve has always been a part of my life since I was a small child. I always found it to be a special, full of light in the world, and peace for all people gathering. As you can guess, I wasn't really feeling it this year, but it was tradition, so I got myself ready. I used to be a door greeter before I taught classes at church, and found myself back in my "old job" this particular evening. So, I bet you're thinking, wow, here is the unhappiest person in the world on Christmas Eve, and now she's working the door? I know...yeah... I was thinking that too!

     There is something to be said for immersing yourself in humanity when you feel at your lowest. I had stripped it all away. I had allowed myself to feel the pain of the tremendous loss that has occurred in my life over the last seven months. In the end, I showered, got dressed, and limped spiritually into church searching for a Christmas miracle.  As it turned, I would also be the only person who volunteered to work the door.

     Not only did I learn how to say, "Merry Christmas" in probably an estimated seven different ways, but I received something completely priceless that night. I received "thank you" and other kindnesses from strangers. I received hugs from friends I hadn't seen in awhile as, well, I suppose we've all been stretched thin by every day life. The best thing I received though was seeing faces, sad and lacking the hope that should be shining in their eyes on a Christmas Eve night, brighten when I would ask how they were this evening or say, "Merry Christmas." It was hope. It was a small, but very significant glimmer of hope...

     ...Suddenly, I felt like I was shown what I asked for earlier that day.

     I have been so much more at peace after that night. I'm not completely done sorting everything out, but I am on the mend. One thing for sure, and maybe this is a sort of New Year's Resolution, is that every weekend, no matter what, I'm going to try to take a "nap..."

     ...a long winter's nap...oh yeah...I definitely see more of those in my future for this coming year...

'Twas the night before New Years, and all through this place
No more will be processed, no more need for space.
The problems of last year are still in my sight,
But I have new hope that will get me through nights.

I understand what's needed, I'll take more time to think.
I won't carry around hurts 'til my heart starts to sink.
So me in my snuggie, and iPad in lap,
Promise to settle down for many more "naps."

While grabbing the starfish, there will be ups and downs.
I'll share them here with you, we are all "ocean" bound!
So, here are my wishes, huge smile as I write.

Happy Fishing!!


No comments:

Post a Comment