I was driving toward campus yesterday with the radio tuned in to the Moody Channel. My ears perked up a bit when I heard the man being interviewed talk about one of my most life affecting books called Margin by Richard Swenson. This was in the light of the rush and business of the Holiday season.
Margin is one of those books my thoughts keep going back to when life starts to squeeze me with too much to do in too little time (sounds like most people's December) and with limited resources. I am reminded of the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day when I worked outside the home, had numerous church and school commitments, still wanted to make gifts by hand, and would have enjoyed some kind of Advent study if I had an extra five minutes.
Life was... complicated... good... but busy. Sometimes we just have too many options in our life! At one time, it wasn't that I couldn't say no during the Holidays... the challenge was in so many facets of my life demanding time and "no" was not always an option. So... my beloved Christmas season would fly by with me looking in the rear view mirror wondering what happened.
This year has been quite different as various circumstances add up to... quiet. It's not all that bad to have a quiet Christmas. As I mentioned already, I have watched favorite Christmas movies and read books and listened to music and enjoyed the Christmas decorations (missing those I did not put out this year but not enough to take down boxes and put them away). :)
This morning I spent a couple hours with my sister in the intensive care waiting room. Other families came and went... all of them in a place they rather would not be at Christmas. A young Mennonite mother held the cutest baby while telling Bonnie that her mother was being moved out of the ICU unit. Her mother is dying of cancer and they know this will be their last Christmas with her. Their hope is she becomes well enough to return home for Christmas.
Another family was discussing their loved one's brain injury. Bonnie told me of another woman who had been with her since Friday but whose husband had just died the night before. There had been families of accident victims waiting to hear if their loved ones would make it or not.
I thought how different their lives were from the general population. Crisis causes life to come to a screeching halt. What was urgent before their loved one's illness or accident is now not so important. Holding on to what matters... they become focused to that one thing... life.
It was good to enter that world, even if but a couple of hours. It made financial and health concerns minimal in my own life. Hope abounds here where the forest meets the corn fields. Whether a quiet Christmas like I am having or the busy days of past seasons... there are and were options.
The family members and friends present in that room this morning would tell us to embrace each day of normal life and enjoy the season. I left when two of my nieces arrived bringing their mother food, Christmas cookies, and a change of clothes. It was good to return home to my quiet Christmas after being reminded of those experiencing sorrow and crisis... quiet can be good.