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Balancing The Seasons of Life

Though I know hardships don’t ever come at a “convenient” time, it always seems that the holidays bring about an extra dose of tragedy. I personally know several people who have lost loved ones in the last week alone. A few other friends have family members recently admitted to the hospital for a variety of illnesses. My heart goes out to them. I know the fear, the sadness, the confusion, the anger. I remember it all too well, in fact.

Two years ago, I remember sitting in the hospital waiting room, fearing for my father’s life & seeing people post pictures of their Christmas trees on Facebook. I thought, “Who gives a crap about your tree? My dad might not make it through the day, and you’re posting pictures of a Christmas tree like it matters? How trivial!”

A week and a half ago, I posted this picture taken while my husband & I shopped for our first Christmas tree together:

Being able to post that photo symbolized a new season in my life. Though we are still without Papa, life has resumed a sense of normalcy. It’s a new kind of normal, and this year, I get to celebrate the trivial things, because (THANK GOD!) the important things are okay. (Merely typing that last phrase gives me anxiety, because I know how quickly things can become not okay.)

The point of all this is that 2 years ago I thought Christmas trees were frivolous distractions from what really matters in life. This year, I see my first Christmas tree with my husband as the initial installment of a lifelong tradition – and that in itself “really matters” to me. In both scenarios, I am right.

When crises strike, priorities shift, and nothing else matters but the well-being of the people you love. But the reason you want those people to be healthy & happy is so that you can go on to celebrate the little things again one day. The trick is to always remember the other side of it.

When you’re in the trenches, you vow never to take for granted life’s little blessings. And that means celebrating life’s little blessings when you’re able. Two years ago, I longed for the days when I could share Christmas tree photos on Facebook instead of medical updates on Papa’s condition. Those days are here. But it is important that I understand somewhere in cyberspace someone may be looking at my tree thinking, “Who gives a crap?” And to that heart that is hurting, I pause for a moment to offer you empathy, send you my love, and pray for the peaceful healing you & your family need right now.

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