Facing a life-threatening illness has a way of altering your perspective, even (especially?) in the little things.
Take Thanksgiving, for example. This year we spent it with 5 of Greg’s siblings, his dad and stepmom, and many nieces and nephews. It was much the same as other years . . . but different, too. Our kids are growing up, moving on. This may have been the last time for the BIG family Thanksgiving. And that made it bittersweet.
Travelling five hours to get there wore me out, so I curled up on the couch for a little rest while conversation swirled around me. The mid-afternoon meal showcased everyone’s cooking skills and was delicious, as usual. Then, after dessert and conversation around the table, I headed upstairs for another nap. (It’s hard for me to admit it, but I still tire easily. I’m not yet back to my pre-cancer self.)
Two hours later, I awoke in a darkened room to the sound of Christmas carols. Someone was singing, somewhere ~ a whole group of people. Was the family gathered down in the living room?
I lay snuggled in bed, soaking in the sound. I wanted to be a part of whatever was going on, but I just wasn’t ready to get up yet. Then the music shifted to worship songs. Angelic voices blended in melody and harmony. It was irresistible. Like a magnet, the music drew me from my bed. I groped my way through the gloom to the door and opened it a crack. The light hit my eyes ~ and I was dazzled by what I saw.
My children and their cousins lined the loft-landing at the end of the hall. Some were singing; some were listening. One strummed a guitar, and another sat at the piano. But all were caught up in the music. I couldn’t drag my eyes away. I didn’t want them to know I was watching, didn’t want to break the spell. But I wanted to be a part of it, too. Finally, I stepped into the light and joined them.
I imagine that’s how it will feel someday to wake up in Heaven.
That evening, I sat around the kitchen table with my sisters-in-law, swapping stories, knitting, and looking at the Black Friday flyers. Ah, Black Friday . . .
We used to do the leave-the-house-at-6AM-and-scramble-to-get-everything-on-your-list-before-the-deals-are-gone routine. Two years ago, we actually headed to the mall at midnight. This year, however, we were content to wake at a reasonable hour and leave for the stores at 8AM ~ all 13 of us!
How times have changed since we young mothers went looking for the best toys for our kids. Now, I think our daughters look forward to the trip more than we do; and we spend most of our time looking at clothes!
We hit Old Navy first. I was tired, and my back already hurt. I eyed the checkout line wearily, and wondered just how long I’d last as I played the role of “gopher” and fashion consultant. But on one of my trips from the dressing room to the clothing rack for yet another item, it hit me. I was HERE. I was with my girls. I was helping to provide for one of their most basic needs. Suddenly, a crazy shopping trip wasn’t just another bead on an ever-growing string of Black Fridays. It was priceless.
I must confess, I’m still tired, although we’ve been home nearly 48 hours. I’m still dealing with post-trip clutter. I’m overwhelmed by everything I want to do before Christmas rolls around. Probably some things just won't get done.