Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I hope that each of you has had a warm and wonderful Christmas season! I feel as though I have been in a cave for the entire month of December, and am looking forward to a new month and a new year!
Three weeks ago, I was looking forward to a month of endless hopes and wishes---crafts and goodies to make with my kids, Christmas-y places I wanted to take them, holiday parties to attend, shopping, wrapping, finding that just-right-gift, and on and on. However, I could sense that I wouldn't be able to do it all, and I wrote my post about slowing down, realizing I would have to pick and choose some things to avoid frantic overload. What I didn't realize at the time was that not only would I have to slow down a bit, but that I would be forced to come to a sudden halt.
Life handed me a big, fat, juicy lemon in the form of flu just days after that post---you know, with all the yuck that comes with it, and to make a long story, short, I didn't improve much after the first 4 or 5 days. After two different trips to the doctor, they finally took x-rays of my chest to discover that I had pneumonia. (Oh, what fun!)
So yes, crafts, cooking, parties, shopping, all the above, went out the window as we resorted to concentrating on survival to get through the holidays. Luckily, I have a husband who was willing to shop, kids who can clean (getting them to actually do it is another story!), a daughter who makes fabulous pancakes for dinner, and a six year old who simply loves me and shows me in the best ways she can. She wrote me this precious note: (I so love this little peek into her sweet and innocent heart.) Notice that "lamonya" is her phonetic-ish spelling of pneumonia.
I've decided that we don't always get to make lemonade out of lemons that life gives us, but sometimes I think that's ok. Those sour times make us appreciate the sweet, and we are filled with greater gratitude for the blessings we sometimes take for granted each day.
Dealing with lemons also humbles us and gets us on our knees in an effort to be nearer to our Savior...something that I sometimes tend to forget when all around me is sugary and blissful.
If we never experience the unpleasant or miserable on occasion, how do we possibly relate in any way to the suffering that our Savior went through to provide us with a remission of sins and to allow us eternal life? Certainly, our suffering will never come close to the agony he experienced on behalf of each of us. But in a small, human way, we can perhaps ponder upon his great love for us, with greater gratitude and humility....that He would be willing to suffer so deeply in order to save us.
And one final thought...the sourness of life's lemons helps small and simple things which follow seem especially sweet. A sweet neighbor called to check up on me after not seeing me at church for two weeks---a simple gesture, but so sweet for me to feel her concern. Another friend basically fed and raised my youngest at her home for an entire week, and made my daughter's holiday break a little brighter. Another neighbor spontaneously dropped by with a pot of soup---a true blessing for me and my family. Other sweet women offered and provided meals, even amidst my prideful objections. (We can handle it, I thought). But these women knew better, and just brought meals and freshly baked bread anyway, and I ended up so grateful that I could rest and not fret about meals for my family. And another sweet friend texted, emailed, and called from 1400 miles away to check up on me daily. All of those acts felt especially sweet to me!
So, this holiday season, as we have celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I find I am deeply grateful for his birth and the life he gave on my behalf. I am grateful in a strange way for life's lemons and what I am learning from dealing with them. And I'm learning that it's okay when, sometimes, those lemons are just sour.