That is always what I wish to eat in this week when we are sated with cheese and chocolates, only this year we did it backwards forwards (literal translation from Dutch) and had our broth and citrus in the weeks before Christmas and our chocolate and cheese after. As did many others, we picked up a nasty little bug that laid us low, one by one. Only Gabriel and Gregory escaped unscathed. In the middle of that drama, I also had a troublesome tooth extracted, but that is all behind us now, and we are back to feeling well, although not quite as robust as we would wish.
I woke up a week before Christmas and thought about the fact that there was not one cookie or piece of candy in the house, and then I rolled over and didn’t care about it at all. We had the ingredients, and I figured eventually one of us would muster some effort. I knew Gabriel had to work anyway, and as it turned out, church was cancelled due to extreme cold and we just stayed home and played games.
One of my most beloved holiday traditions has been to attend a Handel’s Messiah concert every year. I only missed two or three in twenty years, even taking Alex when he was two weeks old. Over the years Gabe and I took turns singing in the choir and those glorious pieces run through my head as music whenever I read them in Isaiah. Twenty-twenty tanked our small town concert in Bedford and they have decided to fold for good, more’s the pity.
Last night I dreamed that I was finally able to attend a Handel’s Messiah concert in Pittsburgh. The venue was decorated with the Steelers colors, but I didn’t mind. It was bliss until the bass soloist started ad libbing during “The People That Walked in Darkness.” He just made up whatever words he wanted. It is one of my favorite pieces, and I was flummoxed, then outraged. When he walked off the stage in confusion, the orchestra and the choir gave up and followed him. I thought surely they would pull it together, but when I looked around me, the audience had all gone home. The only ones left were my children, and they were throwing bounce balls in the concert hall to see if they could hit the stage. That’s when I woke up and gave it up. No live performance of Messiah this year for me, not even in my dreams.
This week we went to my sister’s house on Monday, and my parents and Alex joined us there for celebrations and cheer. My parents made up for our lack of Christmas chocolates and Rachel made an epic cheese fondue and the kids played in the snow for hours while the guys carved. Things may have turned out a little topsy turvy, but we were most grateful that we got our flu bug out of the way before the holidays.
I can’t wrap my head around the fact that this is truly the end of the year. I should probably make some resolutions, or at least some plans. I know I have to do the taxes for the pottery biz, and that is the looming frog of my life every year. I might as well eat that frog first and then the year can only get better. It helps that my husband is a numbers whiz and could easily be my accountant, but I am determined to figure it out. It also doesn’t help that the accountant is my exceedingly patient husband, if you know what I mean. I do not know how it is possible to snarl the numbers the way I do, even with the invoicing software and apps I use, but there it is and there I am feeling stupid, even though I know I am not stupid. I keep trying, but I expect to go to heaven long before I get proficient with tax stuff.
I also need to take a long look at the second half of our school year, make sure we are on track to get where we want to be. Spelling. I don’t know how to instill/teach it, and that would be a good place to start. On a test I checked today, the child who shall remain unnamed had written, “
Britton, Britten, Brittin. However you spell Britton.” Clearly, she knew none of them looked right, but it wasn’t coming to her either and she moved on to more important things.
It doesn’t feel like a neatly wrapped year, even though it has been a good year on the whole. There are always private sorrows mixed in with the surprising joys, burdens to carry with courage along with the lighter duties of ordinary life, and people who are hard to understand even though you love them.
It helps me to accept that this is a design feature of life, not a fatal flaw because I am somehow missing the mysterious component that makes it all better and pretty. This life is always going to feel to some degree like a garment that doesn’t quite fit right. You don’t always know if it needs alteration, or if you need to gain some muscle here, lose some weight there, but the coat isn’t tailored perfectly. When I am troubled by a split seam, it doesn’t mean that I am not casting all my cares on him. It means that this is a broken world, and still I can live in the kindness of the Father. I absolutely love that passage in 1Peter 5: 6-11. There is no safer place than “humble, under the mighty hand of God.” There is no brighter promise than “after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”
A friend asked me why I make mugs with “The Best is Yet to Come” on them. That is why. I believe it with all my heart, and I’ll swing into the new year on that.
Blessings on your new year!