What emotions come to mind when you turn your calendar to December? Isn’t the right answer joy and love and excitement? Shouldn’t we feel festive and enamored with the hustle and bustle and anticipation of it all? It feels hard to admit to anything less than holly jolly kissing under the mistletoe.
As much as I’m super into all of that, that’s just not the whole story, is it?
Yesterday (December 1st) at noon I was at a funeral for the unexpected death of our friend’s father. Simultaneously, a friend in another state was having D&C surgery after miscarrying.
A year ago, a similar double-whammy heartache situation to yesterday’s. Then, it was a friend’s cousin who died of an overdose and another friend in the thick of an affair.
Six years ago, it was my husband sharing his secret of infidelity.
You guys, this is what nightmares are made of. These are some of our deepest fears.
If we’re open to it, real life is hard, messy, and totally unexpected. We just cannot possibly sweep it all under the rug. The more we do, the more exhausted we become. Struggle and suffering IS our shared reality and I’m here for the vulnerable solidarity of it all.
Oftentimes when I lead groups I’ll give the disclaimer that I’m not telling anyone to create heartache for themselves and I’m not forcing them into the trenches – but what I AM asking is that they consider making the choice to get real with what’s going on in their soul.
I’ve been in the dark and I’ve experienced the light and can’t know anything different now. There absolutely 100% is hurt going on whether we choose to own up to it or not. And I believe God wants to bring it out from under the rug and allow us to be completely free from it. I believe He wants to bring it out from under the rug and allow us to be completely loved and known by Him. He wants us to experience grace and provision and that will not and cannot happen until we choose the sometimes heart-wrenching work of allowing ourselves to be fully known – both in our joy and celebration AND in pain, shame, and loss.
I hope you will frequent this space, knowing you are not alone in your reality. There’s nothing to hide here. I want you to be able to laugh and cry along with me in our shared experiences of everyday chaos and of life’s biggest crises. It’ll probably be a mashup of both - a good ol’ fashioned laugh-cry which, in my opinion, is the best emotional expression there is.
As you’ll soon find out, I’m a pretty decent train wreck but I’m ok with that. When December comes you better believe I can experience the bliss and excitement of cold weather, holiday parties, and traditions - but I also know the sting of pain and life as it was never intended to be. I’m learning it’s not an all or nothing, but a both. Joy and sorrow. Life and death. And I’m here for it all.