Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Waiting, Advent Style

This has been one of those years.  I'm often asked if my husband travels frequently.  Usually my answer is no.  Today I had to check that.  This year, he has traveled quite a bit.  This Advent is no exception.  He left almost two weeks ago and we still have close to three weeks left.  He will be home for Christmas.  And so this Advent is truly a waiting game.

I have often thought about how real Advent becomes while pregnant.  Waiting.  Waiting for that little one that you know so well and can't wait to meet.  We are not expecting this Advent, but are experiencing a different kind of expectation.  The joy of meeting again.  Of sharing Christmas together.

There is lots of talk around the Catholic web about not celebrating Christmas in Advent.  That Advent is a time of Penance, Preparation...Waiting.  There is not much chance this house could really celebrate Christmas early.

We had plans on how we were going to do things this year.  A few more decorations outside, perhaps a crèche, a real tree, or at least replace our little Charlie Brown fake tree we've had since the beginning.  Plans change and I'm learning to be ok with that.

Our little tree is up (I did replace the blinking lights we had on last year, talk about anxiety inducing!), the calendar is hung, we are adding our Jesse Tree ornaments (I couldn't find our little Jesse Tree and I am NOT climbing in the attic) and a few other ornaments slowly.  We always do it this way.  But this year, the most special ornaments are waiting to be put up until he gets home. 

So far, we've been so busy, (and we were blessed that Grandma came to visit for Thanksgiving and help us celebrate two! birthdays), we haven't had much time to really think.  And that's good.  But as our evenings slow down, our commitments drop off, even as we enjoy the quiet and the peace and the chance to read and write and...think...well then, we begin to think.  And for a melancholic like myself, my head is not always the best place to be.

And so this evening, after watching an episode of Doctor Thorne, I began to get in my head.  I looked at the Christmas tree that seems to fit my melancholic mood, and I began to feel it.  The loneliness.  The emptiness.  And the voices started swirling (you're not good enough, you're messing it all up, you, you, you).  Many times this will be enough to suck me into a dark place that's hard to get out of.

Maybe it's all the prayers offered up on our family's behalf (we are blessed to be part of a wonderful community of prayer warriors), maybe it's the grace of Confession from this past weekend, but whatever it is I recognized those voices and Audrey Assad's song Fortunate Fall began to run in my head.  And I began to pray.  And I lit a candle.  And instead of sitting in the darkness, I came here to write.

So thank you for being my little bloggy sounding board.  For helping me process the voices.  I am reminded that there is grace in the waiting.  And I can offer it up for all those who have longer waits than I.

PS - One thought I had this afternoon, even while the sun sets here, it is shining over there on my husband.  And the sun will rise again.