I am so used to my wretched cry when I kneel to pray that when I am at complete peace during my prayer, I am at a complete loss. Some very dramatic element is missing, so I try to squeeze out some painful memories to produce some tears. But today, I did something that was groundbreaking. I thanked God for the peace. Then in silence, I wished for that same peace in the hearts of those that I love. On this Christmas, I know many are in need of peace.
Such heavy wind today, still maintaining that same force from yesterday. Yesterday, we finally had our first snow of the season, and despite the forceful wind, I got my sister and her three children ready to go out so we could brave the wind and the snow. We ran in the snow, all the way to the playground.
Watching them enjoying the snow is the peace I know.
Hearing their laughter being carried away by the wind is the peace I know.
This moment, nothing is lacking, all three children healthy and alive and, that, I know is the peace God gave.
The winter is blowing in fast, thrusting hard with its heavy wind, but it could not take away the peace I was feeling inside.
Once you start to dwell on the missing elements, there is no end to that wretched activity. Towards the end of my morning prayer this morning, I finally succeeded in remembering something that never fails to make me cry. The image happened after I have let go of my effort to force the tears that would not come. I saw the room where my ex and I used to stay together when we went ‘home’ for Christmas at my ex-mother-in-law’s Kentucky home. That cozy room had a good sized bed, with nameless old paintings hanging on the walls. She would have a gift basket of shampoo and conditioner samples ready for our visits. There were stuffed dolls on the bed, several layers of quilted blankets covering the bed, and a computer desk on which piles of paperworks busily scattered around. I saw that room again, so vivid in my mind, where my ex-husband will be spending his Christmas without me. Under the Christmas tree, there won’t be any gifts labeled with my name. Some parents will be facing this Christmas without their children. The gifts already prepared but without the recipients. That thought made me cry a lot in the dark prayer room.
‘Peace, give them peace, like the kind you have given me, fill their heart with this peace you have filled me.’
Once you start to dwell on the loss, there is no end. Lost child, lost spouse, lost house, lost job, lost love, lost time, lost, lost, lost.
I put a stop to that chain of loss, and let go.
Instead, I focused on one thing the whole world gained on that one Christmas day so long ago.
The world gained baby Jesus. And with that gain, all the goodness of the Lord followed, still following.
We are flourishing because of that one child, despite all the losses we face.
Nothing is lost. We got everything to gain.
“I would have fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
– Psalm 27:13