Monday, January 19, 2015

Finding Joy When A-Frayed

The tree needs dismantling.  It is time to de-Christmatize the house.  It’s time.  The ornaments come down, delicate ones wrapped in soft tissue, boxed.  Next year sometime after Thanksgiving, tubs will be dragged out once again and all I’ve carefully wrapped and packed away tonight will be unwrapped and it will feel a little like Christmas morning though Advent will have only just begun.

The process of de-decorating requires that everything gets put away with precise order.  But as I pull ribbon switched back and forth like a river ‘round branches from bottom to top, I pause and ponder.  Memories lie limp over open palms.  Red ribbon sent from Scotland for a wedding fourteen years prior.  Regrets.  For reasons unknown it never made an appearance that day.  It was beautiful, but foolishly cut for some other decorative use and re-tied for yet another.  It will never be as beautiful as it was originally.  I can’t put it back together.

I have to sit with this.  I have to sit with the knots and multiplied ends all frayed.  I sit with the consequence of my own doing.  I am undone as I realize all I am unable to undo.  I have kept this ribbon and made myself use it despite the original purpose for which it was purchased.  Despite a severed union and unraveled dreams.  It is beautiful… it was beautiful.  I have to admit that its time is over.  What is going on?  Brow furrows.  Head shakes.  This is JUST a ribbon, yet part of me struggles to part with it.  The tears come.  Its tartan pattern is bright red and gold with a streaks of royal blue, yellow, green, black and white.  Stewart is the name given to this pattern.  Stewart means, “guardian of the house.”  Another mysterious no-show.  How did I not know?  I wrapped up my dream and tried giving it to myself and spent a lot of time on the bow.

There was another marriage.  There was no aisle, ribbon or guests.  Just me and One called a Redeemer.  The New Guardian of my house (and very life) now nudges.  “It’s time.”  Still I wonder… maybe I can get another year out of it by pressing out the wrinkles… should I try...? “No.  No more trying to make it look better.  It’s over.  It is finished.”

Why is it so hard to throw a thing away when you know its time is over?  When you know there is no other possible use for it?  Because it is like throwing away a dream that never was… that never came true.  It’s like throwing away all the effort in trying to MAKE it come true.  Can I really let go of my efforts?  It is hard to trust that everything really WILL be okay if the dream never EVER comes true… How many times have I asked, “ but what if I never find a ribbon to replace it?  This one has worked well enough... hasn’t it?  ...H-hasn’t it?  

The naked, unlit tree stands as a mirror reflecting my vulnerability.

It's over.


It really will be okay if the old dream is never ever fulfilled in this life. “The old is gone the new has come” and that includes new dreams... dreams that are not mine first, but God's for me.  His dreams for us are far better than can be imagined.  We just have to let go of every bit of the old tattered ones.  The new can’t come if the old keeps getting carried forward.  Next year, I will unpack something new or nothing and it will be alright.  It really will.

J-O-Y.  These three ornaments hang on low limbs, dipping near a quilted nativity tree skirt.  An invitation. I don’t. want. to miss it this time.  No more regrets.  Love came down to rescue me.  Christmas is packed up, but this is a truth which never need be.  All our dreams come true - my dreams - begin with love and humility.

Psalm 37:1-11
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.b
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Philippians 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

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