I live about an hour and a half from the state border. If I wanted to, I could get in my car and drive north up to the big state sign and pull over to park. After zipping up my jacket and protecting my ears, I could exit the car and stand right next to the highway marker where miles are named zero. I could turn to the west and widen my stance and strategically place one foot proudly in Colorado while the other foot could stamp down and stake claim territory in Wyoming.
One could be in two places at once.
This is holiday season number three without Dad and I’m finding myself in there – in two places all at the same time.
I’m living with more joy. I eagerly completed my Christmas card and mailed them this week (I’ve got ten left if you want one). I bought spontaneous tickets to White Christmas at the Performing Arts Center. We made penguin cookies with frosted snow and sparkle dust. I’m going to The Nutcracker, making lists for gifts, and decorating the house cheerfully.
In each of these traditions and activities, though, exists the sting of grief, the remnants of loss, and the gluing back together of the places that broke when he died.
For Christmas cards, how do you address an envelope? With peoples names who live in that household, leaving one very important one out because he doesn’t live there anymore? It’s safer to lump and title the envelope ‘the xxx family’.
In a dark performance hall you notice the stranger sitting next to you and as his arm brushes your shoulder you think, ‘huh that fabric is scratchier than dad’s coat.’ If you lean your head on this man’s shoulder, you’re gonna get an uncomfortable look and a talking to.
Dylan stands on the ladder helping wrap the garlands at Mom’s house rather than Dad. Pecan crescents are missing from the fridge because really those are gross and no one would eat them but Dad.
I’m present and happy and festive. I’m also sad and aching and have room for the light that Christ promises he brings during this advent season.
I’m in two places at once and that’s a beautiful thing.
PS – don’t forget to enter the Give Light Giveaway. This year, it’s super easy to enter.