We had some friends over on Saturday night as we decorated the tree. We found out that Architect A is ALLERGIC to Christmas Trees!!! He loves the smell of Christmas Trees but they cause him physical annoyance.
Lots of things we love are like that aren’t they? We love the experience but hate the consequence. I tell the story all the time about when I first lost weight and people would ask me how I did it, when I answered, “I started running and I changed the way I ate.” They would look at me with disgust and answer with “Oh.” (In my mind they all said it with a strong Long Island accent)
Things we love but hate the consequence of:
Copious amounts of Moet… delicious wine or frozen hot chocolate.
Then there are things that we like but just aren’t good for us:
For AA it’s Christmas trees.
This world is full of tension. The whole, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Or if God is good why is there evil in the world? I think that this time of year those questions resonate with me. In the context of the Christian faith this is such a complicated time of year. Justin and I talked the other day about the appearance of Jesus, as a baby, to Virgin Mary and then the whole ensuing 33 years culminated in saving the world from sin. I asked Justin honestly, “Do you think it happened like that?” And I loved his answer, “Does it matter?”
The things that move me the most are the things that I have that I never knew I needed. AM&UK, my faith, Boo, a handful of unexpected friends… Those things undo me. I think also about some points of absolute tragedy in my life that left me broken and breathless and brought me to these places and people that I didn’t know I needed… I remember one time, my friend Stephen, in response to the tragic death of a local pastor a few short months after the loss of Stephen’s youngest brother, said, “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned either.”
I read this on our churches Advent blog today, it was written by our pastors wife,
“Especially in Advent, I think of the blessings in this life, among which are goodness, mercy, beauty, friendship, family, compassion – all pointing us to the reality of what IS… In the same breath, there are very hard realities that accompany some of the best things in life. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Not yet. Things are hazy and cracked, even if the colors are beautiful. There are times when I find the presence and magnitude of human suffering in this world almost faith-shattering… As I look deeper, I find this dissonance most routinely experienced not merely in circumstances, but especially in my own heart, mind, attitudes and actions.”
I am reminded that so much of life and how we experience it does not depend on our circumstances, what we have or don’t have, who we are, or where we come from. What matters is our response, our perspective, our attitude. Whether we are the victims of fate, God or karma – when we are victims it is inevitably a life of suffering. But like my AM says, “People love to be around a positive person.” For me, faith plays a major part in my perspective and my battle… I get turned around in the stuff that Mandy was talking about on the Advent blog if God is so good and real and present. On the other hand, AM, during my wedding told me to never get my feelings hurt and just walk around assuming everyone loved me and wanted what was best for me. In the midst of the dissonance that Mandy was talking about, if I can keep that perspective and offer that love to the sojourners around me, then I think I will get less lost in the pain and hurt of it all. I think this is the key, love. Sincere, true and pure love. Spiritually, internally and to the world around me. That kind of perspective has to change the atmosphere right? Well, I am going to give it a shot. In the moments of waiting and wondering, in the pregnant pauses, I am going to try to set my heart on True and center down in simplicity and offer the world the best of what I have in that moment, believing a promise written on a ring a dear friend gave me three short and long years ago,
“The greatest and sweetest songs are yet to be sung.”
In this season of expectancy, I am going to believe that no matter how lovely or lonely a specific moment is, the best is yet to come. What an incredible and wonderfully buoyant thought.