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September 2021
« Nov    


The Advent of Good Things?

I knew this week that things would have to change a bit. No way could I look at December’s schedule, reflect on the last week, and think that this trend could continue for the rest of the year (which, mind you, is one month). I had some significant signs of anxiety. Everywhere I turned, the solution to the problem was more of my time. And of course, there is no more of my time to be had. Luckily I believe in divine intervention.

First, I didn’t drive on Friday. Brian Judd drove me to Brian Hone’s, who drove me to work, then Dave Korka drove me to his house, then Brian Judd drove me back home. It’s so nice to not have to drive. It’s even nicer to have good company in the car. We had great conversations, and even some good music. (Thanks to B.Hone for sharing your work-in-progress, and I agree a bass solo in every song is a good thing). It’s the icing on the cake to get in early, have a productive morning, and have no choice but to leave work at a reasonable time on a Friday. It started to chip away at my stress.

Then, we had dinner with Ab and Dave and AJ. If you haven’t had dinner with AJ lately, you’re missing out on a very social occasion. She really keeps the conversation going. “Please pass the chips,” “My, this is a tasty kiwi,” “More chips please,” “Yes, I did see my friends Inara and Breila today” and “I think this food would taste better if I were sitting in Mommy’s lap. And also I’d like to be able to easily grab more chips” were all very earnestly offered as banter during the meal. [Small disclaimer: AJ may have had a little parental prompting and some actual verbal expressions may have used fewer words. Nonetheless, I was quite impressed with how well she balanced being 22 months old and having an adult dinner conversation. And I too love chips. She is 1/2 Hoosier you know.]

AJ was tucked into bed while we continued to chat with Ab and Dave. Sorry Dave, I was too beat to focus on talking and playing a game at the same time. But we enjoyed hanging out just the same. It was a nice way to coast into the weekend. Take a deep breath. Talk with Brian about my day on the drive home. Things are getting better.

Then, sleep glorious sleep. It’s amazing how I get a different perspective after a good night’s sleep. Brian and I chatted about our end-of-year charitable contributions while enjoying our morning coffee. I got ahold of my Mom on the first ring (even though she was on her way out the door for an appointment). The underlying cause of one of the personnel situations I’ve been struggling with suddenly became clear this morning, and then my Dad called so I could process through it with him and really get a handle on what I should do. Without a Bible Study group, my Dad is the main person I talk with about prayer and forgiveness and trying to be a better person. We had a nice long talk, almost as good as some of our in-person talks, and it makes me look forward to our long Christmas visit even more. By this point in my day, I knew that I hadn’t fortuitously planned the kind of day I needed, but God was lining up just what He knew I needed.

Then, I went over to decorate the church for Advent. It is always fun to put garland and red ribbons and angels all over the sanctuary. I came home and did a much-needed yoga session, then tackled my email inbox and long-overdue Competitive Assessment of my business area in front of a warm crackling fire. I feel like a new person – my back is relaxed, I can take a deep breath, and things feel under control.

I always feel like Advent is akin to hopping on a roller coaster. End-of-year work stuff, baking, travel and meetings, parties, shopping, then taking off for a week or two whether I’m ready or not is the typical set of activities. Taken separately it’s fun, but altogether it can feel like the reward for making it over the big hill is a surprise high-speed drop that leaves me breathless with my hair standing on end. I love Christmas – if only I could manage the crazy four weeks leading up to it and the guilt I feel for not enjoying every minute of it.

So maybe this year is better. We decided we didn’t have to put up every garland and every ornament at church; not every surface and doorway had to be adorned. Maybe some other elves will enjoy decorating, or we’ll just do a little less this year. It’s still beautiful and I don’t think anyone will notice – let alone be upset – about the difference. That’s a good start. Perhaps I won’t go crazy shopping. I could get fewer, more thoughtful items, ship them ahead, and not spend so much or fret over the “I really would like to get these and they’d be awfully nice but this person doesn’t even know I’ve considered getting this for them and I just can’t decide” gifts that make me run all over three states on the last weekend before Christmas. I will then avoid having to get ready for the company holiday party in 20 minutes flat, and instead get ready ahead of time and enjoy reading a book while my nail polish dries. I know how good it felt to do yoga today, and to get in my morning run on Thanksgiving, so I definitely should work out 3-4 times a week in December. I’ll be sure to get up a half hour earlier to do that, and of course get to sleep at a reasonable time so I’m well-rested each day.

Sounds good, eh? It’s only December 1. Just think what my new year’s resolutions will be! The good news is that regardless of how December turns out, I’ve had just the kind of relaxing, re-energizing, feel-good day I needed to get me to a good starting place.

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