He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9


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Shadows and Hope

I sit in the quiet warmth of the Christmas tree glow - singing to the baby and watching the fireplace flicker. It’s the fireplace from Grandma Parsons’ house – the fireplace where we slept.  Where I tucked tired little bodies on blanket beds on the floor in front of it after popcorn and parties and cousins and the full days with the dancing Grandma.

Our Dickens Village glows on the mantle beneath the antique picture from the estate. It’s the picture that greeted everyone who walked in Grandma’s door for as many years as I can remember. It’s the picture she picked out for me – gave to me before we even knew she had cancer.

As I gaze at the snowy glowing village with its tiny shining windows and small busy figures....suddenly I’m in the Gift Tree. Our village collection began with a few pieces in that beautiful old antique store. Where the dark handsome Grandpa perched on a stool with his arms folded behind the glass cases and Grandma’s gorgeous scrawl filled tiny white tags on Hummels and Roseville and any beautiful piece of precious history you could want to behold.

Shadows of the past move from my head and settle heavily in my heart and stomach. It’s all gone now.

This year, we won’t be driving down Metcalf past KCCBS to 8400 Foster Lane. The mantle wire won’t hang heavy with dozens of red fuzzy stockings. There will be no mystery names. No massive feast served in beautiful glass. I won’t be home for Christmas. Not at that home, at least, where I spent every.single.Christmas of my childhood. Where we dressed in matching cousin pj’s and had Christmas recitals and made paper chains and popped popcorn and Christmas caroled to the neighbors and I took cold, quiet walks alone when the Christmas noise got loud.

But the past is so elusive. It lives heavy in me, comes in waves triggered by the smallest memory or smell or sound.

I’m just really not sure what to do with it.

And it sends my mind full circle – to the fact that my future is so unknown.

And the now that I have and love and work so hard for. The babies that scream and the checks that bounce and the wallets that empty and the dishes that dirty and the parents that age and the sisters that move away.

It’s all so short. I want to reach out and grab the shadows – make them come back and stay and we can all finish strong together. Please?

But it doesn’t work that way. Oh, how well I know. And the tears wash my heart because life hurts.

Why do I feel so torn – the past drawing me backward slowly and the future forward blindly and the present in every way I can be stretched at once?

Marriages fall apart and people die and money runs out and people spend holidays alone.

I’m sad. And that’s okay.

And how to end these dancing shadow words without sadness?

This! That tomorrow I will rise again
to face some fears
and wipe some tears
and climb some mountains
and laugh some laughs
and kiss some cheeks
and make some memories
and run some miles
and live with all the Hope that is in me.

And someday....someday. (Oh, I can't wait!)

Psalm 62:5

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.

Sarah Cook said...

I feel a bit that way myself today... this was my first Thanksgiving since my Grandma passed away, and though it was very special, it also was different. Nothing stays the same, it seems.

Liz said...

I share your heart, Sarah... some of the thoughts/feelings are too strong to even think or feel it seems. Love from my house to yours...

Jodi Marshall said...

Very powerful words, Sarah.
You moved me to tears once again.

Pamela said...

I understand. In 53 years I only missed 2 years (my pregnancy and then my daughters) going home to Pennsylvania. This year we were in Indiana and, while it had sad moments, it was also new and different. Life is painful at times, but you said it well, "live with all the hope that is within me."

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