It’s Advent. A time of waiting, quietude, expectancy.
It’s hard to walk quietly through Advent and not anticipate too much what comes next. Christmas is in our faces from late summer/early fall. “Christmas! Christmas! Time is here!”
When I wrote Come to the Quiet, about grief it was just a few days shy of the anniversary of my mother-in-law’s passing. There are so many memories leading up to this day, this moment. There were some challenging moments, some downright hard moments. Prayer, faith and determination led through those moments. Prayer – actively giving this over to God for her and all that was going on, where this was leading; for us for strength and trust God in this moment. Faith, what better time to exercise faith than through the passage from this life to the next. It is a belief in the Resurrection and Heaven in that Great Love of God that makes it easier to have her physical absence from my life a bit easier. Determination to rely on the Faith that embrace and hold so dear; the faith that informs how we try to live; the faith that I KNOW from a young age.
Living a life of faith is an act of the will; a willingness to examine and correct things that aren’t working; a willingness to forgive (which again, is an act of the will); and a willingness to be forgiven.
Through the last several years there have been some challenging moments. I’ve done my best not to complain about them. I have complained some, whined some, expressed my frustration some. Yep, I’ve done all of that. Behind the scenes with friends all of whom will either talk me through and/or pray with and for me. The last few years have taught me that God truly does not mind my whining and complaining to Him. It’s in these moments of talking with God that I am comforted. It’s in talking with friends that I’m reminded that the Christian Journey is not all happiness and light. A look at this season, Advent into Christmas, give us the first clue. (Okay, you’re right Genesis gives us the first clue but let’s stick with Advent.) Mary’s pregnant, due any moment now, she and Joseph have to travel from Galilee to Bethlehem essentially on foot. I can not imagine that was an easy journey. From what I’ve heard that part of being pregnant isn’t easy, the baby presses on your bladder, positions for delivery, feet swell. You get the idea. And then they have to travel. No big deal right? No car.
And then there’s essentially no hotel and Mary, in full on labor, must go stay in a barn to give birth. And THAT was someone being kind and taking pity on this couple. Yeah, That.
And a short time later Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus have to flee to another country because the local ruler decides that this baby is a threat to his throne and power and commits infanticide with reckless abandon. How easy was this? Prolly not so much.
One of the things that Scripture, a life of Faith helps us realize is that life is Not quite all sunshine, happiness, lollipops and sweetness. Sometimes its downright hard. In our world today we’re much more aware of some of the downright evil stuff that humans, exercising free-will, do. We’re rightfully angered by this. And figuring out what to do and how to handle the evil is not a clear, cut and dried path. Personally, here in my little world, having friends along the way makes it so much easier. Learning to trust God is huge. It ain’t easy. There is such beauty along the way though. Such amazing beauty. The beauty of friendships and family and talent and developing talent.
When it comes to quilting remembering that the first part of learning is challenging. Learning any new skill takes time and effort. Especially if you’re learning on your own in some fashion. I’m still learning how to quilt, viewing myself as an Advanced Beginner…ready to learn and ready to share what I know.
Most quilters are just amazing and kind people and some aren’t. Even those we don’t particularly get along with are amazing and kind to other people…and they quilt. Hey even I can be a bit of a snot sometimes, when I’m having a bad moment or there’s something going on with family that has me worried or p’od about something.
And this is where I should do this amazing wrap up…say something pithy and profound that will carry you through the day. Living through and sharing the tough times with friends and family is a good thing. Accepting that not so great, bad and evil stuff happens will go a long way toward our own Peace of mind. It’s also part of living honestly. All this “everything is just amazing and wonderful” is just crap because sometimes it’s just not amazing and wonderful. Expressing the not so great stuff is a good thing, a God thing. God can handle it.