We make assumptions in life. And some days, you wake up and an assumption that you’d grown used to, suddenly isn’t so stable anymore.
It’s been over five years. Five years, nine months, and thirteen days if you want to be exact. Years that have changed me through heartbreak, transition, and opportunity. And I know they’ve changed you too.
Almost six years of silence.
I woke up this morning with an assumption firmly set in my mind. An assumption that told me there was no hope. An assumption that promised I would never again hear your voice or your laugh, I would never again see your face, I would never again have your friendship.
I woke up this morning to a very subtle change. And I could feel, can feel, it reaching for me. I can feel it’s thin, cold fingers, I can feel the brittle nails, wrapping slowly around my heart. This monster called ‘hope.’ Begging me to give in.
But I know hope. And hope is not to be trusted.
Didn’t you teach me that?
It was probably a mistake. It probably meant nothing to you. You probably thought I wouldn’t notice. You probably didn’t give it any thought at all. You probably didn’t mean to cause my assumptions to waiver.
Five years, nine months, thirteen days, and I’m still…
I don’t like being around people when I feel like that. I feel like I’m infecting them.
I can feel waves, like heat, radiating from me. This bubble surrounding me that those standing too close are trapped within. I feel their awkwardness when they can sense something is wrong but don’t know how to ask. I can’t make eye contact with them but I can feel the stolen glances they brave toward me. I can feel my silence- it’s palpable. But I feel enclosed in my own gloom.
And my thoughts make me ache. It’s your choice to feel this way, you know. You just have to stop. You’re making this hard on everyone, you’re ruining their time. Choose to feel better. It’s your fault you feel this way. You’re not doing anything about it. You have to do something about it. It’s your fault.
And then there’s tears in my eyes.
It’s your fault.
And it is. It is my fault. I should just smile. I should pull myself up by my bootstraps. It doesn’t matter how. I should just do it. I must be choosing to feel this way – I must be.
Just feel better.
Just be better.
I asked her how her day had been and she skirted the question. She answered it, technically. But I could feel more beneath her response. I asked again, differently. Again, she answered, but not fully. She said a certain part of her day had been fine.
“So what wasn’t fine today?” I asked.
Finally, I’d hit the right question. She blurted out what she hadn’t been saying, coated with annoyance. She avoided any detail, so I asked another question. And then another.
And then she was crying.
I pushed away the anger I felt growing in me, not toward her, but toward those that had hurt her. I pulled her in for a hug and just held her why she cried.
“You didn’t do anything wrong.” I told her quietly, combing my fingers through her hair, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
I wondered what I could do to help, to fix this, to retaliate. Nothing, really. Only this. Hold tight to the hurting and brush away their tears, even if they continue to cry.
You didn’t do anything wrong.
Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of holding a baby who was only two weeks old. The tiny boy was only seven pounds and a few ounces. Carefully, he was handed to me. Asleep and totally, completely helpless, he lay in my arms. I rarely looked up from his beautiful face. His eyes were closed peacefully. He had a little scratch on his nose from his nails that needed to be cut. His lips, so small, were absolutely perfect. A miniature Santa hat covered his dark, black hair. It had probably been years since I’d held a baby this young. His beauty left me awestruck.
As I let myself become captivated by him, my mind thought of my King. My Lord. The God of the universe. His Son, filled with power and might, set it all aside and humbled Himself so that He could come into the world just like the rest of us. He trusted us enough to lay down His crown and put on our humanity and come to this earth as a baby. A tiny baby, helpless and completely reliant on those around Him. Too young to form words or even real thoughts. Too young, too weak to even lift His head on His own. This is our King.
Pregnancy. Birth. In themselves, they are miracles. But when you think about the fact that God came down to be one of us in that way? It’s mind blowing. A tiny little thing.. A head that fits in your palm. A hand that can’t even completely wrap around your finger. A body the length of your forearm. This is how the King of the world chose to present Himself to us. This is our Lord, willing to be born among us. Willing to put our life in His hands. Willing to be raised on this earth. Willing to take the first trying steps in learning to walk just as we did. Willing to befriend us. And ultimately, willing to die on our behalf.
This is our King. This is Love.
This is Christmas.