‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the season . . . to be jolly, the song advises, but of course it’s not that simple.  There certainly has been some jollity . . .

Christmas lights near The Berkshire Restaurant — Brittany’s birthday dinner
David and Brittany — July 1986, I think

Brittany had a birthday on November 12th. I didn’t mention it in the last post, because we hadn’t celebrated yet. Following the pattern I started with Chelsea’s birthday, here are two of my favorite shots of David and Brittany.

David and Brittany 30 September 2016

For her birthday gift, Brittany wanted me to join her for a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert in Denver, which was quite an experience — very cool laser-light-show flashing about the place, plus lots of old-school headbanging by the lead guitarist and choreographed hair-tossing by the women backup singers, all equally Rapunzel-tressed, gently swaying, while whipping their heads back and forth in sharp synchronicity between the lead guitarist and the keyboard player like they were watching a tennis match. Too funny. Then to dinner at The Berkshire Restaurant, where bacon is the featured menu item. Just say yes.

Then, just in case the normal stresses of the season were not enough, I decided to sit for a French level certification exam, the  DELF B2, on December 5th, which definitely does NOT qualify as jollity. I prepped several hours a day for eight weeks or so and suffered way more angst than a completely optional exam, having no bearing whatsoever on my future prospects in any arena, should have been allowed to cause me. Oh well. It may have provided much-needed focus for my attention and it did give my French a bit of a turbo boost. In fact, I’ve been spending so much time thinking in French, I just spelled “season” as saison, without even noticing until the red squiggly line protested that saison was not English. I don’t know yet if I passed, but I’m optimistic. On verra (We’ll see).

In a bit of excellent timing, the day before the exam, I learned that a poem I had written for my second Lighthouse Writers Workshop has been included in a new community anthology they’re publishing called All the Lives We Ever Lived. An advance copy was being held for me (in Denver, of course), so after the exam, to distract myself from rehashing all the errors I already realized I had committed on the exam (not to mention those that would occur to me later), I went over and picked up my copy. They will eventually be available in stores like Tattered Cover (April, I think). How cool is that? To see my work in print, even on such a small scale (a page and a half out of 200 or so). Still. Feeling rather jolly about it!

Then taking further advantage of being in Denver, I went to the Denver Art Museum to see the Dior exhibit. Gorgeous! Here’s a tiny peek . . .

So I’m still pretty busy. I’ve continued my fused glass fun, so that qualifies as jolly, even though my results are never quite what I hope they’ll be. I’m still very much a beginner. Here’s the final version of the first one I made . . .

The busyness, at least the creativity, the push to learn more, the appreciation of beauty, fun with friends and family — all are good things. Even the busyness to a point. But when I slow down long enough to listen to the lyrics of a Christmas carol or watch a Christmas movie or even to stop and think, as David was so fond of doing, I’m finding the tears come pretty easily.  This season has been harder than I expected, although I had been warned it likely would be. And of course, the news contributes its share of tragic natural disasters, seemingly inescapable hardships, and increasingly frequent senseless violence. Plus, we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary. By 4:00 p.m. December 27th last year, David’s struggle was over. Mine was beginning a new phase.

Sometimes jolly is hard to find. But maybe I don’t have to. Maybe hope is a better goal. I heard a wonderful sermon recently about hope in the midst of struggle, hope in spite of grief. Hope is not an emotion, she said.* Hope is a choice. . . . don’t let our circumstances define our hope. Usually, it’s easier for me to have hope in the ultimate future, however distant that may be, God eventually redeeming all things, making all things right. But hope here, now, and for however many years I have left on earth, that’s the challenge for me these days. I can’t really imagine my life ever again being as good as it was with David. And yet, here I am. So I’m praying for strength to choose hope for the days ahead, and I’m clinging to hope for our ultimate future. Wishing the same for you, dear ones!

Any words of hope you have to offer in the comments will be very welcome!

I will stand my ground where hope can be found. ∼Lauren Daigle

*Mehgan Castor, 2 December 2018, Council Tree Covenant Church

7 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season”

  1. You are not alone.
    Thinking of you during these days, and holding you, the girls, and all our memories of David very close.
    The hope of new light is upon us at Christmas, and we wish that for you.
    Love, Meg and Tom

  2. Your words flow so beautifully, Sunny!

    I am just I awe of you. I remember texting you last January – but truly you don’t cease to amaze me. I am inspired by your many hobbies and talents, and amidst the pain and grief this year has brought you, you HAVE chosen to have hope and to move one foot in front of the other with such grace.

    Please keep writing and sharing your life with us!

  3. Greetings Sunny!
    As always, your God created heart and soul have opened up grand vistas of possibility for all of us as you share your remarkable articulation of your journey. I am inspired again!
    A morsel on hope that God has given me as years of pressure were having their work on my being… there is a mystery, a spark within a moment, each moment holding the possibility of any one of the vast universes waiting to be known.
    Hope can stirs us each morning to receive within each moment waiting on us in our day, a glimpse and sometimes a full immersion into any number of wonders God wants to give, to reveal: beauty, light (in all its dimensions, including God’s very being), laughter (especially children), the movement of our hands as we create (in HIS image), the fullness of God’s presence pulsing in our heart & ears as we are still and quiet; it is endless what waits for us in a moment, living and moving and having our being IN God Himself. We don’t often get to know what is next in life. We get to check our traveling tools pack, gather our courage and adventure forth into the unknown. But carrying the gift of hope, we CAN know every step is a moment of possibility for being undone with fullness of joy… because as the Scriptures say, “In His presence is fullness of joy!” Yes, joy in the midst of the awareness of pain and grieving. Still, we get to know we have this ever unfolding goodness waiting for us to open-up-to and as we are stepping from moment to moment, we will find that we have adventured into the next great purpose for our days, which God says are numbered by Him for PURPOSE!
    I know David is already in Paradise with Jesus, by Jesus’ own words. From there he knows he resides in you. He knows how much you love him. He is the same David who was looking for ways to bring your dreams to pass. He is HOPING for you to know the deep satisfaction of living, moving & having your being in God (through all He’s created) that he, David now knows fully.
    May you know the reality of the unfashionable possibilities come to fruition one moment at a time!
    Deep love sister,
    Carol

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