Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent

Things are quiet around here. I mean really, really quiet. I haven't been inspired to write much, even though I think I have a novel noodling around in my head somewhere, and while January is pretty packed with speaking engagements, December isn't. The fact that I discovered 7 seasons of "The Good Wife" on Amazon Prime probably hasn't helped.

Advent is a time of waiting, as is pregnancy, and it hasn't escaped my notice that I'm experiencing both at the same time. During my first two pregnancies I was busy-busy. I think that helped keep me in great physical and emotional shape throughout, not just focused on what was happening on the inside. With Jack, I taught high school until just hours before he was born. Pregnant with Margaret, I had an active toddler to chase around, and with free childcare at church activities, I took part in pretty much every church exercise class, Bible Study, and committee I could sign up for. Busy.

This time is different. Tim and Margaret are gone all day. The doggies just follow me around and collapse into sleep wherever I park myself in the house. My body doesn't feel the same as it did 17 or 15 years ago. Things are swollen. Private things. Other things are sore. Exercise seems too monumental to attempt. Most of this has to do with age, but some of it likely has to do with the cocooning I've experienced in the 4 years since Jack died. While Tim and my sister channeled their grief into running, I channeled mine into sitting, writing, meeting with the bereaved, and drinking a lot of tea, as if conserving energy for something. Was it this? Rather than keeping me healthy, however, I found that the grief settled in my shoulders and other parts of my body, making me prone to aches, illness, and injury. Today, I'm trying to decide whether I'm having a flare-up of shingles or whether it's just the permanent nerve damage I got the last time I had them. Regardless, my body is saying, REST, Anna, and wait. So the dogs and Julianna Marguiles and I do just that.

I did all of my shopping online, and I've never been much of a baker, so I don't have reams of checklists to follow right now, unless I'm forgetting something, which is likely true. This makes me feel a bit off kilter with all of the busyness around me, as if it is one more way I don't fit in.

Advent is a time of expectation, a virgin's growing belly, and now this 46 year old non-virgin's as well. Sometimes it's a time of numbers and counting and waiting. Margaret counts down the days until she can open her presents. We anticipate our last Christmas with 3 members physically present: Anna, Tim, and Margaret, and are proud and a little shocked by the way we have handled the 4, soon to be 5  that we've faced since Sept 2011. Our 2 trees glisten with lights and hundreds of handmade ornaments of dough and beads that now bring us joy rather than pain. For the first time ever, we hang lights outside, a tribute to our dear friend Brian who died 1 week ago at the incredibly young age of 39, and who loved Advent and Christmas. Tim tracks his hours at work, trying to figure out how to be present with us during the holidays while still getting his job done. I watch the pounds pile up on the scale, and follow the size of the baby according to websites, going from a grape, to a tangerine, an avocado, and then a banana. Is he1 lb yet? Baby Donaldson just swims, and flips and dives,  oblivious to all of this, or perhaps somehow wiser than the rest of us put together.

And Jack? His wait is over. He is in the presence of holiness every minute of every day. And what is  a day to him? A millisecond? His work and mission are unfettered by billable hours and busyness, outward expectations, and binge-watching TV. Partisan politics and war and violence make no sense to him as his new lens is one of LOVE, only LOVE.

I don't know when my time with come, although I know I've already lived more years than Jack and Brian. There is much for us to do here, to try to make the world we are living in more loving, kinder, and more just.

But there is also much to anticipate, as Jack and Brian already know, and that it is worth longing for.




21 comments:

1 Buddha's Mom said...

Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I love the rhythms of winter, for me they are slower and less frenetic than the brighter, warmer months, but special none-the-less. Enjoy the downtime! (One possibly annoying unsolicited piece of advice written with a *helping, non judging* heart, try a prenatal exercise class. I liked an aquatic exercise class for pregnant moms. It helped me feel energized and light in the water even when my huge belly felt so heavy to lug around. )

Lori6NV said...

"His new lens is one of LOVE, only LOVE" - If only we could all live Advent in this spirit, instead of the rush, rush, rush. You enjoy your rest and waiting time, mama.

twingles said...

There's something about this post that I just love.

Enjoy taking it easy this time around. You're certainly in no position to need an excuse to lay low and enjoy the season quietly.

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to hear about your pregnancy. May God Bless you, your family, and your future son. Merry Christmas Anna.

Falls Church neighbor

A Speckled Trout said...

How beautiful, Anna. I am off kilter these days - far too much going on and I dearly miss being in my house. Maybe, though, I am always off in December.

I know of only one other person who watches The Good Wife - the only show I watch. If we were neighbors I would come over every Monday morning to discuss last night's episode over tea. The last scene of Sunday's show..... oh my.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully expressed, Anna.

KattyM said...

Lovely expression of this period... I don't think it is age related... Grief exhausts physically and so does pregnancy. Waiting is good. Waiting for the Lord. Waiting for our time to come...you will get busy again soon enough! God bless you!

Jeane` said...

What a beautiful reflection. It touches the stuff of earth to the sweetness of Heaven. Thank you.

Joan said...

"that now bring us joy rather than pain"
I was delighted to read this, so happy for your miracle, wishing you all a very special Christmas.
-- Joan in PA

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I love the way you describe the rhythms of the season, both the ones in which you are actively participating (waiting with expectancy) and those in which you are observing and/or remembering (the busy, the planning).
I, too, am off-kilter this season. For me, it is the pain of a shattered ankle, subsequent surgery and, after a month of immobilization, trying to regain motion a few minutes per day. There is so little I am capable of doing and I'm learning to give over nearly total control to others. At the same time, there is a new little person in the world to love, and I'm learning how to do this from less-than-ideal circumstances.
Trusting God. ♥

www.robinbotie.com said...

Cheers, Anna. I'm wishing you and your family a beautiful holiday season.

Jen said...

So beautiful, Ana. A very Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family.

Terri said...

so beautiful. merry christmas, anna.

Anonymous said...

This post touched me, and I am sure others, deeply. God is using you in this different season of life... you just touched so many hearts for His glory with your words. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" and because of this all believers in Jesus will be able to commune in love with Jack. Personally, I want to see him dance with his friends again although as I type this I smile because I know Jack has lots of new friends because God is using his momma's blog to make new friends! Go Anna! Love you! Karen

Salvimom said...

Thank you for this Anna. I also feel like I am waiting, although I am not expecting. This has been a difficult holiday season so far as one of my closest friends in the world passed away 2 days before Thanksgiving at the tender age of 35. Knowing it was coming made it no easier. I have had other loved ones pass but this has hit me especially hard, as she was so young. I cannot believe the grief. So I am taking it one day at a time. And waiting, anticipating the time when the loss won't feel so piercing, maybe. I can only imagine what you've experienced. Thanks always for your strength, your honesty and positivity. May God continue to bless you and definitely enjoy your restful time. Merry Christmas!

Ury

julie gardner said...

Love. Only love.
That says it all.

Jenn said...

Oh Anna. This is just stunningly beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for using your gift here. Blessings and prayers of rest and hope for you today. xoxo

Reenie said...

OMG!! I haven't read your blog for some time. I didn't know you were pregnant. Congrats!!

Rachel Pearson said...

I love your paragraph about Jack. I feel you. Thank you for sharing. I will pray for sleep to come!

Donna Schaefer said...

Can you direct me to the post where you wrote "what not to say" It identified what people say and what the grieving person hears. Facing saying goodbye to my 11yr. old nephew and looking for guidance :(