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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I'm Not Ready For This; Holiday Edition

It's November.  I know I covered that fact Sunday, but I didn't really talk about what it means.  November means the start of the holidays.  Thinking about the next few months feels like thinking about trying to walk through a minefield blindfolded.  How do people get through this?  How will I?  Well I know how.  God is with me, and He will provide.  But I don't know what that's going to look like, and it feels really scary.

I've always loved the holidays.  I listen to Christmas music year-round.  If a Hallmark Christmas movie is on at the same time as Doctor Who, I'm probably going to DVR Doctor Who.  Shopping and decorating, parties and visiting families.  Gingerbread and peppermint and eggnog.  But Kevin's not here to fill my purple Princess stocking with lipgloss and Pez holders and novelty pens.  I don't want to feel this big knot of dread in my stomach when I think about the holidays this year, but it's there.  How do I make it go away?

I realize as I write this that I probably don't make it go away.  I just still get out and do the things that I can do anyway, even though my stomach feels like it's full of rocks.  Some of it will depend on the kids, of course.  If something is important to them - decorating the tree, watching Christmas Vacation - then I will make sure it happens.  The birth of our Savior is always worth celebrating no matter what our circumstances.  And I still have a lot to be thankful for.

I've already decided to go to NC for Thanksgiving with my parents and sisters.  I hope Josh and Nick will come with me, but they aren't sure yet.  Kimmy already has other plans.  I'm not trying to run away from my pain; I know I'll be taking it with me.  I just don't feel equipped to try to do Thanksgiving here this year, but I don't want to skip it either.  And it's always nice to go home and be with my family whenever I get the chance.  Laura and I will be doing a couple of races together while I'm there, and if Cindy doesn't have to work, she'll be joining us for the Turkey Trot.

I'm staying home for Christmas, but I don't really know what I'll do yet.  I need to talk to the kids so we can come up with a plan.  Traditionally our Christmas meal has always been a big breakfast: bacon & eggs, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls, apple juice, and coffee.  Then we'd exchange presents and watch Christmas Vacation.  Maybe another Christmas movie after that too, or maybe play Pictionary.  I don't know how much of that we keep, and where or when to start new traditions.  Maybe they won't even want me to cook the breakfast by myself.  Kevin is better at cooking bacon than I am, according to everyone else.  I just prefer it well-done.

For those readers who don't know, it's not just Thanksgiving and Christmas that are coming up.  Kevin & I got married on Christmas Eve, so we also have our anniversary in there.  I can't celebrate our anniversary, but I want to find a meaningful way to observe it.  I have a few ideas, but I haven't made up my mind yet.  Part of me wants to just stay in bed, but I know when the day gets here that won't feel right.  I'm just not the kind of person who can lie around feeling sad.  So I want to have a plan and be ready.

As I write this, I am reminded of the other times over the past six+ months when I have felt completely unable to get through what was in front of me, but God still led me through it.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  -Psalm 23:4
How many times have I heard or read that verse in my life and never seen the meaning in it that I do now?  I always thought of the valley of the shadow of death as a place of physical danger, like sheep with wolves up on the hills watching them.  But now I see it differently.  Kevin's death is a shadow that has touched and changed everything.  I am walking through the valley of that shadow now, but God is with me and I trust that I will get through it.

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