The most wonderful time of the year! At least, that’s what I used to think when I was little. Christmas music blasting, twinkle lights sparkling on the tree, a fire crackling in the living room, while we all sat around on the couch snuggled under our favorite blankets and watched our favorite movies of the season. Every moment felt magical and I lingered in the season as long as I possibly could before diving into a fresh year full of endless possibilities.
This year has obviously felt different and if I’m honest, it’s been hard to drum up that Christmas cheer. I have been waiting for those magical feelings to appear, but I have been met with continual disappointment. And, I’m worn out. I am tired of feeling like I don’t want to get up and face another day exactly like the day before. Unchanging circumstances. All the noise. All the chaos. The unfriendliness everywhere. Faces hidden and completely unrecognizable. People yelling clear across the running path to remind you to “make the right choices”. It’s all too much.
I haven’t felt the words adequate enough to write. For months now. My last entry celebrating Berni’s birthday took everything inside of me to sit down and actually get the words down on paper, reminding myself I would be happy later when I could go back years from now and remember her 4th birthday. I also had the honor of having an article published over at Sweatpants and Coffee celebrating the beauty of Down syndrome and embracing different closing out Down syndrome awareness month in October. For a person FULL of words, I have been unable to sort through them. So much of the current events have left me feeling confused and sad. Leading to frustration. Which promptly leaves me feeling upset. Which leads to tuning everything out and then starting the cycle over again.
Sure, being isolated has a lot to do with it. Being created to be a part of the greater community and having that stripped away for months on end only intensifies the loneliness. I think in the beginning of the greater pandemic situation, I was probably more proactively pursing community through zoom and phone calls and even writing letters to close friends whom I missed and wanted to encourage. Now, as life continues to stop and start I have felt major burnout.
The burnout is multilayered. On the one hand, I have caregiver burnout which I won’t get into now, but am sure so many of you can relate. But on the other hand, it’s all the stopping and starting and bending and flexing (along with the HOURS spent on the computer). Areas I obviously struggle in. The funny thing, I used to think I was more flexible and a more of a go where the wind takes you type. But in my more recent decade, perhaps once I became a mom even, that feels too out of control. Which results in me attempting to take things into control and leads to more chaos and disappointment.
The season of Advent is a time of pausing, reflecting, and excitement for the upcoming celebration. It’s a time to slow down in a season that is typically anything but peaceful. It’s about preparing our hearts for the coming of our Savior. For me particularly, I have been reminded that His grace is sufficient and although the greater part of this year has been challenging, He is still here and is pursuing me, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
My hope is that by pushing forward in His grace, I can continue to be reminded that He is here in the midst of the hard. He is my strength in this great time of weakness, of isolation, and sadness.
It’s important to pause and reflect on the year as a whole and be reminded of the blessings that have come out of the hard. The blessings that have sprouted in the desert, through the dry soil, as I have been reminded the Lord has not left my side. I am still acknowledging the hard and praying through it, but also seeing each and every single thing I have to be thankful for in attempts to once again, shift my focus and let go of the idea of control.
So here I am, putting one foot in front of the other yet again, holding onto the Hope that came in the form of a tiny babe all those years ago. Press on my friends, but most importantly press into His Hope.