Thursday, January 20, 2011

Now what?

I seriously considered my daughter’s suggestion that we keep Christmas decorations up until Easter. Besides a very busy January and a few items on my schedule with slightly higher priority than stashing baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Rudolph away in the attic, the idea itself didn’t seem too far fetched. In my head, you see, the two holidays go hand-in-hand. Without Christmas there would obviously be no Easter, and without Easter… well, without Easter the Christmas would leave us bankrupt, not only in our wallets and bank-accounts, but emotionally deserted and empty-handed, even while surrounded by all the trinkets and toys, disillusioned by the hollowness of the hope that, like weight-loss commercials, grossly over-promised but never quite delivered. So, I was perfectly happy to, like some devout frog, jump from Christmas to Easter and back to Christmas, trying to live off the fumes of spiritual adrenaline each holiday provides and skipping everything in between.

Today, however, without any forethought or planning on my part, spontaneously snowballed into a Putting-Christmas-Away party. It started as a creative (or, rather, desperate!) way to keep my children distracted from killing each other by having them take the ornaments off the Christmas tree. But, very quickly the cleanup party gained momentum and soon it turned into an all-out ‘reclaiming our spaces’ effort. As the nativity pieces were wrapped into tissue paper and placed in cardboard boxes, there was a clear sense of... relief? … A relief that we get our home back, undisturbed by the massive God-invasion of the last month… But, somewhere in the back of my mind, I noticed I was breathing easier because Jesus didn’t remain frozen in time as some perpetual baby sleeping in a manger, but moved on and grew up into an inquisitive teenager, a robust young carpenter good at working with hands, in every aspect maturing under the cloak of ordinary until the appointed time.

Much of his life was commonplace – no global audience, no ‘likes’ on his Facebook wall, no blog, no Twitter, no choirs of angels applauding his every move, no wise men worshiping the ground he walked. The divine wrapped himself in a regular human flesh and quietly receded into obscurity, eating, sleeping, walking, talking, resting, playing, partying, working – just like us! And, in a strange role-reversal, perhaps by the very virtue of not shrinking from becoming human in all its seemingly boring ordinariness, he somehow breathed unimaginable dignity, worth and purposes into everything you and I might do on any given day of small things. Making it holy.

At the end of the impromptu cleaning party I stepped back and looked at our home, the tree out, the boxes up, the pieces of furniture returned to their usual spots. Everything was back in its place and to an undiscerning eye, life seemed to have returned back to just as it has always been. But, to everyone who welcomed His coming, nothing was as it used to be. Everything changed… or, at least begun the long, slow process of transformation of every detail of our life into something that God Himself inhabits.

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart…

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Resolution

So far my most successful New Year’s resolution has been to ‘watch more TV’. I admit that like all other New Year’s resolutions, it took me several years to work on it. Now, watching TV may seem like a second nature to some people, but to me, to sit down and watch other people’s worlds both thrive and collapse before my eyes meant a slow, painful death to all my godlike responsibilities of keeping the rest of the universe running. Most people underestimated the seriousness of my commitment and laughed when I answered their January 1 inquiry…

So, what’s YOUR New Year’s resolution?

I guess now it’s my turn to laugh.

Having being successful in logging in extra hours of Criminal Minds under my belt during the past several months, I decided to really get out on a limb this year and make another resolution I am determined to keep for the rest of the week… and probably renew next year and the next (if I am still around). This January I am resolved to resist all pressures and temptations – internal as well as external – at trying to improve myself. By this, mind you, I am not implying that nothing in my life needs improvement. On the contrary! Just that I have ample proof coming from years of experience that I am uniquely unqualified for the job.

And, if I am successful, next year, or the year after, I may even determine to stop trying to fix my husband.

I think he just might appreciate that.