I spent part of this past week feeling waves of angst.
I wrote a whole entry I didn't post, questioning my last post as being too naive, too pollyanna. Did this unposted one sound too anxiety-ridden? M upbeat, she'd finished that homework YEAH, which requires my support of course. We can move on now, to Christmas preparations, and money issues. A night M stayed at her father's, I'd spent a couple hours at my fathers going over his bills with him. The former accountant retains such detailed memory in fragments, combined with little to no short-term memory blanks. Me with massive ADD, he with dementia. Oy. It was also time for me to deal with a large financial issue of my own, and M's school is no longer thinking a longer-term payment plan is a great idea, so that one option persued isn't helping as I'd hoped. One morning, I woke up to warm white fuzzy being, and I knew, M and our cats and Daisy, this is my little family. I wish to keep them safe, protected, no need to worry. I don't want this big thing looming. Even as I work on plans to handle it, it's not going as quickly as I'd hoped. I feared the worst.
Little Christmas music played on our main radio station this December. Hmmm, I finally realize this, pondered maybe I should switch, pull out our cd's. They promise a marathon of Christmas music, so I'm pleased and stay tuned in. It's pilgrimage time on Saturday morning. I am literally stopped, then go, then stopped, on the highway to my mother's. The plan was simply to pick up M and spend the day finishing our Christmas preparations, after she'd spent her annual day together with Grandma / Bampbob preparing for Christmas. I imagine these lines of cars traveling home, and those stopped along the side with their cell phones, as if thousands of years ago, instead traveling on donkeys and camels and on foot, days of preparations, to be registered in their hometowns. I'm certain Mary felt every rock her donkey stopped upon. The animals left behind in others care, today, are often more dogs and cats. A dalmation in our neighborhood hadn't eaten sad for her "daddy" was away, even while enjoying playtime with Daisy, accompanied by her dog sitter. I suppose it was difficult back then to make reservations in advance, and Mary and Joseph weren't able to stay with family even.
A bright day, some final window shopping, we're home. M is happy, and strings colored lights on the cat tree she is insistent will be a fine Christmas tree. I wasn't convinced. I washed the dishes and made peanut butter cookies with kisses on top; M vacuumed (wow!) near the cat tree I'd carpet-cleaned the night before. Traditionally, we'd gone to pick out a tree, I found a way to put that in the budget, nixing a gift to do so. A couple years of an artificial tree. We'd been planning just what to do TO the cat tree, which garland (including a green feather boa-like one), candycanes or not, the felt ornaments from the horse show or not. It actually looks grand! M smiles just as grandly, and toasts me with our very nutmegg'd eggnog, "To NO pine!" Ah, she never has liked the smell of pine.
Away from M, away from being busy, I'd get anxious. How much was due to my still feeling ill and nauseous? How much was important get my butt in gear worry? How much was eating me alive and stressing my heart, I cannot risk a stroke or heart attack. I'd pray some, finally. I still felt convinced I had reason to worry. And, I do, just trust in the Lord and work on it as best I can. I couldn't reach that point, however.
I took a break from the church nursery, looking for tea and goodies. In that Hall was a sign, Phillipians something. Be ye not anxious............. peace is found with God type thing. I wrote it down just forget it now. Peace is STILL what I wish for:) Yes, this is good. I stopped and prayed again, quickly, to get back. I was feeling better.
Update: NIV Phillipians 4:4-7 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
M pondered the best placement of beads and trinkets to balance out the mobile she's making for Lucie. She didn't make crafts for her dad and me this year in art. She's getting older now. Lucie's even younger than Si is, so this is fun. We run by the mall to return pants I'd hoped would fit her and she finds another gift for her dad, sigh, so yes I buy it. She's a giving soul. I don't wish to dampen that. I want to embrace all of this Christmas time, while feeling that pit, that grip on my heart and stomach still.
C wrote, confirming the time for pickup Tuesday (a day earlier as he wanted to trade Christmas Eve/Morn for this). He says he hopes I'd be willing to not see M on the holiday if the schedule is ever such that it'd be during the part of break she's with him. BJ wrote, among happy greetings of the spirit, "Now explain to me...how do you "give up" time with your child?? Does it come with a store receipt? Do you just go to the returns dept and exchange it for a toaster oven????? Sorry, just don't get it...not to mention the message it sends to M! "Sorry, honey, dad's got something better going on...maybe next year..." !!!!!!!!!! Just plain wrong." There is no way in heck I'd ever do that to M. Christmas isn't just a holiday. It's, well, mass for Christ, celebration of his birth. M and I talked of how Jesus wasn't really born on December 25th, and yet, it's when we prepare for it, it's thee date. I had her call there Christmas Eve, as it'd been enough days in the break. Si was all excited to set out Santa plates and had written a letter C planned to respond to, as if Santa. M was silent for a bit after that call. Even on the Christmas Eves/Morns she's been with C, per her previous conversations with me, he's never once done the Santa thing with M. So I simply remind her to start up back up the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie.
We get dinner to go just before it closes, bless them I think, as they give up their time to serve us. We took some dinner to my father. It's the second time I visited there Christmas Eve, for he asked me to wrap the cookies I'd gotten for him to give the woman who brings his newspaper up the long driveway each day, and more Christmas cards. (More? ah well, so he lost the others). He let me trim his beard earlier; I fibbed and told him he'd asked me to do it. LOL. He'd gone back and forth as to whether or not to see a barber. He agreed to change his shirt, Dad, it's Christmas time, maybe wear this one, look, olive and red, Christmasy. "No one sees me." I will, M may come by. Is this new? No, I think Beth got it for you last year. He actually looked good for himself. Except then he said for us to not come by today. He'd opened up the big box from Beth and Len, handing me packages, worried as there were none for M in there. AH, but Beth and M had e-mailed; shhhh, Beth is getting M the Teada cd http://www.teada.com and a great book from http://www.celticreader.com in time for New Years:) (We'll bring Dad his gifts from us tomorrow.)
The fifth service of the day for me, out of the six my church held on Christmas Eve (they nixed the 8am service), this time, I got to worship, also. M wanted me to take her photo by the tree in the narthex. How beautiful. My angel, old enough for me to allow her a touch of mascara and lip gloss, young enough to pick the excess wax off of her special candle, and keep it lit until theee very last must give it back moment after service and singing of Silent Night, Holy Night. We sat on the end of a pew, just us two until a man sat at the way other end, friends in front. He'd bring the offering plate, the body of Christ broken for me, and the blood of Christ, broken for me, to me. I then did the same for M. I wished to speak to him after, him sitting there alone as I could have been, would have been, if C had kept M with him this year as scheduled, and yet, not alone. Communion is a connection, not "just" with God, the important connection in Communion, but with the others there as well. I tried to remember the verse from Phillipians, praying, God, take away my anxiety, help me deal with these problems. Forgive me. Please, Lord. Ahhh, it's after midnight, Merry Christmas, sweetheart. Sharing the Holy Spirit which is the "magic" of Christmas. M's been so excited forthis.
In the car, I turned on the radio, for the Christmas songs promised. Reindeer light our path home, one on every light, magical. Oh, Holy Night, let us continue on with the real Spirit and meaning. A loud "Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve........" How garious it sounded. Other moments, I laugh and enjoy that song. Then Winter Wonderland, lovely enough but a winter song, not Christmas. How secular, how cultural Christian, the timing all wrong. (Thesongs played this afternoon some 12 hours later or so, were fantastic and more what I was looking for.) Quick song break, "holiday songs" blitz. Oh. Not Christmas songs even, holiday songs.
M slept enroute home, then we made Santa's plate, including peppermints for each of the 8 reindeer, and a healthy plate. I pulled out a special songbook of ours, "The First Noelle." I think, or Noel. We used to read it nightly preparing for Christmas. We'd missed Sundays at church, for Oireachtas, for a horse show, for being exhausted after New York. M wanted to sing four or five or MORE songs, Christmas carols. About the birth of our savior.
That's what's been missing, in my life of late even though I know better, in those who can't see Christmas as but another holiday. There is nothing wrong with so much of how people celebrate Christmas. I even understand the temptations to just be a cultural Christian. Ahh, but where is the heart, the love? Believe. Yes, Believe. Where IS the peace I so crave? That I received, finally accepting, handing my anxieties over to the Lord? The father, the son, and the holy spirit. Happy Christmas.
Wherever you are, know that you are loved, and not ever alone. If you're with people who love you, no matter the money involved, or, um, not involved, then you are extra blessed. Sleep in heavenly peace:)
(And, for the record, I completely respect those who believe in other faiths, truly, we are a wonderfuly diverse nation and I'm blessed for having such diversity in our own community. But, me? I have the right to celebrate and feel and honor MY faith, too. Thatis what our country is founded upon. Christianity is not politics, but that's another post.)
Oh, and yes, I still need to deal, still AM dealing with "the issues." He's helping me with some insights, and took away the anxiety portion when I'm willing to let it go:) I did another step with that today even, after a full and lovely Christmas Day, at home, at my mothers'/Bob's, all with M. (The cats were playing in the boxes this morning while I tried to set up M's gifts, that I finally just gave them a bag! Daisy went back to sleep after her stocking, the Christmas rawhide next to her. Mom kept worrying that M might be disappointed, "it's not our usual Christmas," but she's spent PLENTY on us lately. The table was full, and M special and loved.) (Yes, M's dad did call her, too.) Doesn't mean we don't have to take responsibility as we are able to in our lives. Just that God can and will help us through them. Trust in him. Finding peace. "Life is good"
(Other than the first real nice one of M at church, candlelight servie Christmas Eve, from her digital camera, these are from my disposable camera, and are "okay." The one of her sitting, is in our church nursery earlier Christmas Eve, and, well, have to include our Christmas Cat Tree photos! They LOVED that tree. Captain is looking up at Billy in the one. That's Tinkerbell under the light and necklaced with Christmas "lights" that actually lit up; I thought her being mostly blind, this may intrigue her. By the time M was up, Daisy was almost asleep, lol, but her photo and gold ribbon didn't make it on here.)