My heart is so full of sorrows and joys that all I really want for Christmas is a 25-year long nap. This incredibly beautiful and intense Advent has been soul-stretching. While I appreciate that and have been blessed with much consolation and truly lovely season... I'm just wondering how I'm going to survive the next few decades. The answer is just... Jesus... and a thousand little yes's and and failings and daily showers of grace and mercy. I just cannot tell you how sad I am. And I have no words for how extraordinarily happy I am. I'm not sure how a soul can remain intact long through that kind of movement. And the depth of my fatigue combined with a strangely renewed energy... a contradiction. But proof that my soul is really alive.
I remember when I was younger and I would just take a break when I needed one. Now, there is no break. There are brief periods of nourishment but not at all timed to my personal preference. Motherhood is a continual dying to self until, presumably, the only thing left is Christ Himself. I don't resent it. I am grateful. But there are certainly days when I am completely in the dark as to how the strength will come in the morning. The marathon of the holy day seasons are beyond my strength and I'm really just learning to hang on and embrace the imperfect with peace.
With those thoughts in mind, I'm dumping 7 Quick Takes using whatever is on my ipad camera. Each one a post of it's own (and some will be). But the posts that my heart writes all day, everyday in the midst of engaged motherhood... those posts just can't be written yet. I wouldn't even know how to begin. Joy and sorrow. Bigger than a keyboard.
Christmas Love Letter
This is the post-in-waiting about how the surprise early Christmas gift I gave to my husband completely changed my heart. I think he liked it and I'm grateful for that. I am astonished that I was able to pull off the surprise. But the biggest surprise for me was how a dormant part of my heart blossomed as I transformed our sanctuary. This post is definitely coming. With lots of pictures.
No words. Other than... The great joy of seeing my children love each other will certainly be challenged by the sorrow of eventually seeing them leave each other.
More Than Music
Nothing illuminates the great problem of bad liturgical music like hearing well done sacred polyphony. When this group starts to sing, it is as if my soul has no choice but to pray. Like getting knocked down and then raised up by a strong and gentle holy wind. It is incredible how this little group of 13 managed to fill the entire church with... what? Not just music. More than music. And my girl, whose voice I always try to single out, but never can.
Vestibule With a View
It has been a very long time since I have been able to sit in church, with my family, for more than 15 minutes. My 18-month old is a stinker. Most of them are. But this one is the uniquely stinker-ish. Consequently, this is often my view at church. Between getting ready, out the door, and wrestling my girl through Mass, Sunday mornings are a physical marathon. I'm not really complaining. Because teenagers are much harder to wrestle. Yes, they are.
He Must Become Greater; I Must Become Less
One of the many beautiful little nooks hiding in at our parish. This is one of my favorites and also happens to depict my saint for 2014. St. John the Baptist. I don't always know why my saint picks me. This year I do know. And that is one of the posts my heart sings but my hands cannot write. Yet.
A Good Priest Brings Christ
Good priests. Joyful priests. Fervent priests. Priests who get what we do as parents. And live their lives as if what they do, say, wear, and live matters to the rest of us. Because it does. Perhaps more than they can know on earth. Priests who live for Jesus first and clear the way so that we can see Him more clearly. Priests who challenge you to live a life of holiness... and then let you buy them a bacon burger so the conversation can continue.
The isolation of the young trying to live a Christ-focused life. The sitting in the back of the family bus even though the wings are ready to fly on their own. The dreaming of the future. The stretching of mind and soul. Joy and sadness. The post that can never really be written by me at all.
And that's all I've got for now. Well, not really. It's just all that I can manage to communicate. And I'm pretty sure you understand. Because holy seasons are not for staying in neutral but for great movement of mind and soul. I trust that you have your share of joy and sorrow this Advent. I am keeping your intentions in prayer.
Joining up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes Friday.