It is 9 days until Christmas. I did manage to send Christmas cards (motivated by needing to change my address with so many people so I even got them out early!). Actually, I sent most of my cards- and then ran out of stamps for the last dozen- so they are still sitting on the table- still no stamps. The tree is set up and not decorated, has been like that for over a week. There are four rubbermaid totes labeled “Christmas” in the dining room just waiting to be emptied onto the tree and around the house. Thank God for those Black Friday $0.99 poinsettias because they are adding a splash of color and looking great although they do need water. There are three rubbermaid totes of summer clothes (and I don’t remember what else) stacked in the middle of my bedroom that need to go to the barn. There are three totes full of fabric sitting on the table because I started sewing the other day. The advent candles are still in their package because I never found (or even looked for) candle sticks. In short, chaos is winning.
I’m overwhelmed. Unable to make progress or move forward in any area. At a standstill right now. I’ve been in the house for 4 months and feel so completely unsettled sometimes (lately). It makes sense, I’ve been working on the house diligently since moving in- but there’s still a lot that feels like it isn’t figured out yet. And until I figure things out and/or redo the spaces, I don’t want to unpack the things for the space. The last couple weeks it has been cold and dark, and there’s nothing like cold and dark to sap my productivity. Honestly, I have been busy and just haven’t had a lot of time to work on the house in the past few weeks.
This weekend I had my friend’s two kids, ages 7 and 3, Thursday night through Sunday night, which was great fun and absolutely no aid to progress. Luckily I had mentally prepared to get nothing done except spend time with some little people who I love dearly. Of course I had a To Do list, but I just decided to let it go and rejoice if I managed anything at all.
Over the weekend I managed to do a bit of grocery shopping (mostly because I was out of dog food so that became urgent). Returned things to two stores. Picked up one of the kids from her event. Sewed three pairs of flannel pants (Christmas gifts). Cut out another gift to sew (which I need to do pronto since I have to mail it). Sewed an elephant (random but awesome). Helped my friend sew gifts for her sister (I mean she did the sewing, I just coached her while working on my own projects). Dyed a bunch of towels- twice (I promise to post the details soon). Flooded the laundry room once (this one wasn’t on my list, go figure). Made one kind of cookies, start to finish, a second kind of dough (need one ingredient before I bake them), and a batch of muddy buddies- all while bonding with my seven year old buddy. Celebrated a friend’s marriage and caught up with friends at the reception. Dug out a snow shovel and shoveled the porch. Played in the snow with the kids. Started the family calendar (I am SOOOO behind). Messed up and cleaned up a lot. Read books. Snuggled. Prayed that someday God will bless me with little people of my own. Thought about how badly I want to rip up the nasty carpet in the second bedroom. Wished I could get my act together and put lights on the tree.
I am not good at embracing the poverty in my life
right now. The poverty of being just one average human being. Of limited time, limited resources. Of being one solitary human being (oh wait, did I say that already). And yet somehow in the midst of all of the chaos, it has been a good advent. An advent of embracing the Savior and my own desperate need to be saved. An advent of planning and pondering and prioritizing. Sure, I’m way behind on things at my house, but it is because I am choosing other things. I choose time with loved ones, I choose teaching young people about the faith, I choose love. I have a long way to go, but God is working on me and I’m doing my best to cooperate. As much as I would like to have the perfect house and Christmas decorations, when I die, I hope people say that I loved well. I hope people remember me as a person who was faithful to my God, my family, my friends and who loved generously.
So today, nine days from Christmas, I am once again asking for the grace to embrace the poverty in my life. To let go of my perfectionism and embrace the joy for today. I pray for the grace to sit at the feet of Emmanuel- God with us- and savor the mystery of the Incarnation.