I wrote this and published it as a note on Face Book right after Christmas.
Today I am taking our Christmas tree down and I am saddened. That may not seem significant to you but for me it is huge. I so did NOT want to put it up in the first place. It represented all that we had been through in the last few months. It reminded me of Christmases past and the loss of our home.
I suppose it is common knowledge now that we lost 5 rental homes that we owned in foreclosure, and consequentially, our personal home. Leaving our home in August proved to be the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with…and I’ve had some hard things to deal with in my life.
We left so much behind, or gave it away, and most of what we did keep is in storage. That was why it was such an ordeal to put the tree up in the first place. To do so meant driving for 25 minutes to retrieve it all, as it was being stored by our dear friends. It meant taking all the containers back to the storage unit when we were finished decorating. It meant going back to the unit to get the boxes when we were ready to take it down…and it means hauling it all back to storage once it is packed away.
I know it is just stuff, and not very valuable stuff at that, but it was things that represented our lives. I also know that it was just a house and not one without problems and issues of it’s own. I do know our home is where our family is, but that house was the place where so many milestones where reached and so many memories made.
I know too, that there are many others in far worse situations than ours…my cousin who lost her dad to cancer just a few months ago. Several families who lost everything due to a fire in the apartment complex where we are currently living. A family who lost their beloved husband and father in an accident just a few days before Christmas. A man who is having seizures and all that goes along with that. Several friends whose families have been broken by a divorce, a friend who still suffers the affects of breast cancer and the life-saving treatment…and the list goes on. I don’t want to be where they are, but unfortunately I don’t want to be where I am either. Perhaps I should say I didn’t want to be there.
I have learned many lessons along this leg of my life’s journey. I’ve discovered more about myself through this experience and some things weren’t so pleasant. I’ve learned who my true friends are and hopefully how to be a better friend myself. I’ve learned that having no hope does indeed make a heart sick.
I have also experienced that God opens doors when least expected and in forms I would not have thought of. We were very blessed this Christmas by the thoughtfulness of a couple we haven’t known long but intend to get to know better.
The gift of gratitude and being thankful in the midst of trouble is a lesson I’ve been steadily being taught my entire life. I have finally learned that lesson and it is changing who I am. I understand some things I never did before, though I thought I knew. I’ve caught a glimpse of a truth that has always been just beyond my reach. Living what you truly believe depends entirely upon knowing that what you believe is actually true and oftentimes one doesn’t know what he believes until he is thrown into a situation he is totally unprepared for.
As I say good-bye to this Christmas and this year, I do so with a feeling of hope, peace, contentment and even, dare I say, a bit of excitement, which comes as a total shock to me. I do know, however, that there will be more times of sadness and grief and more saying good-bye…for those are as much a part of life as breathing; and that the final reward in this life is beyond my comprehension.
Blessings to you all in 2011!