Tis the day before Thanksgiving and all through the house the smell of hair dye is fuming, and it could probably kill a mouse.
That is my day. It is currently nearing eleven p.m. and here I sit: a load of laundry in the washer, hair piled high on my head as I watch a timer and hope the gray is soon gone. I have baked a few dozen cookies, the Christmas tree is up, and decorations sit neatly around the house. I worked a half day, finished last minute shopping, and came home to clean and prepare. I never realized it, but I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love being reminded of all I should be thankful for, because let’s face it, we all tend to forget as the year goes by.
This past year brought some good and some bad. My biggest blessing is having my neck surgery behind me, and feeling complete relief from issues that plagued me for an entire year. I honestly thought I would be in pain forever. I am close to full range of motion, I have relearned proper posture, and I better not tilt my head forward and down. I should probably sit at a desk or a table when I write- I have elected the recliner, with my feet up and ankles crossed. Comfort matters.
I have encountered some difficulties this year as well. The journey has been rough at times. I have questioned my own ability to cope. I have hurt, and cried tears I thought had disappeared long ago. Alas, the well is not dry, it turns out I am still human, I still feel. I held a strong belief that I had lost all ability to feel some time ago. I suppose I am hardened to some parts of life. Pain and disappointment has a way of draining us. It takes actual effort to soften the tattered edges of brokenness, but it is possible. If Jesus could love through to his final breath, we can certainly feel with all we are, until we do the same.
The joy of living is sometimes lost in the chaos of calamity. As I muster the confidence to admit my own failures, I know I am not alone. I have taken a lot for granted. I have taken many people for granted. We live with this false presumption that they will always love us, no matter what. We take for granted they will be there when we wake up tomorrow. We live in routines and comfort zones, until those routines and comforts change. The disruption is sometimes overwhelming. For many, overwhelming is an understatement. The chaos leaves us undone, and gasping for air. The suffocation felt is what eventually leads to a hollow and hardened heart.
Life is unpredictable I suppose. There are no guarantees. We step forward, to be knocked five steps back. What would life be without the twists and turns of surprises along the way? Would we be satisfied with waking up every day on replay? Would we feel more if everything only worked out the way we desired? To be honest, I am not sure.
Each passing trial has done wonders for me as a person. Sure I am exhausted, but I remember each of my children hitting a growth spurt as infants- each time they began a new spurt, they slept more due to the exhaustion growing brings! Here I am at almost midnight finishing this (because I had to stop in the middle to take care of the hair dye). I look back over my life and see the many ways I have grown through it all. I am not perfect, and I will never be perfect. However, he loves me perfectly in my flaws, in my failures, and in my doubts, is a great comfort. I cannot change a thing that lands at my feet. In fact, I am grateful for every piece of my life puzzle, even the ugly and jagged ones. It is Thanksgiving, a time I choose to reflect and feel thankful. This is a time to be real in my reality, gray hair and all.