I’ve been off work since last week and am thinking maybe I won’t go back. There is much to be said for staying up binge watching shows and sleeping late, our children are old enough to forage for food now, and to use the potty and turn on the TV all by themselves. I’ve read and colored too, and I’ve googled. My search history is strangely entertaining, how to counter the salt in ham soup, where is M1, how tall is Vince Vaughn…. fairy pools on the Isle of Skye, any new Doc Martin episodes?

I have another sort of trivia to contend with however, and of course I will go back to work– but not until Tuesday next.

I can’t figure out when Christmas lost it’s magic and became several days off work. I can’t figure out why I stopped looking to see how the lights shine through the stained glass onto the parking lot and the drifted snow, why the descant on the third verse of O come, all ye faithful didn’t make me cry this year. Why the image of a dark skinned and naked infant crying in a cattle shed didn’t really make me want to cry, why I have hardened my heart, again.

I stop, with my hands wrapped around a brick as the snow drifts down, catching in my eyelashes and settling like a crown on my hair,  and realize that I am rebuilding my wall.

It’s unsettling, to say the least, to have your wall come down, all in one go. It’s hard to sort through the rubble and to confront different versions of yourself shining back at you from the rubbish and the dust; harder still to decide which ones are real.

To have my wall come back up is not something I expected to happen. I thought I could live wide open and feeling everything so acutely, I thought I had expertly turned the knobs and tuned the dials to accept the pain a swallow, a sip at a time. And then to discover that my jaw was locked closed, my goodness. I remember countless Christmases, how they were another day, just like Sundays. And then all at once there was magic again, and now I seem to have dropped the jar and had the magic spill out, only I don’t remember it happening.

I can’t think what to do, I’ve been casting about for ideas, for ways to salvage the wonder, for ways to bare my own heart again, straining to hear on the winter wind the songs that make me want to sing.

I wonder at this late sadness, as all things have come round and settled. I wonder at my own contrary and grasping heart, at my lack of contentment in this small and warm and comfortable place. I am disappointed in my own self.

I wonder if the meaning is maybe revealed, if I have arched this way, traveled the path and not even realized the trajectory. Maybe this is an understanding that God incarnate is less about sparkling snow and stained glass and descants, and more about discontent, wondering and seeking, about holding on. Maybe Jesus wondered sometimes too, maybe he wondered if there was a point to all of it, if there was really a reason to keep going on the path that he could see, a destiny laid out for him like stars in a constellation over the Sea of Galilee.

The fairy pools of Skye offer glimmering hope, mist on the bens of Scotland, standing stones in a circle and the cobbled streets of Inverness call to me with the song of the North Sea and the echoing ruins of chantrys and abbeys.. The arms of my mother wait.

In the meantime, I read a prayer the other day and it made me think of all these things that I have laid out, spread out before you. It said, yet in all of the pain, and around it, there are crazy shimmerings of grace, tiny pin-points of hope that leave me breathless, guilty and skeptical, as I scramble to gather them up, unbelievingly holding them close to my heart.


The how and the why, the what it means, who it is for, what it foreshadows and what it sees. When it will come right again and how I can make it so.

I know that I can make it so.

I love you still. I hold you, unbelieving, guilty and skeptical, but close to my heart.




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