Saturday, January 11, 2014

Post-Game, Vol. 4

If you missed Post-Game, Post-Game, Vol. 2, and Post-Game, Vol. 3 you might want to click on their blue names and see what they're about.  

With our Santa-waiting victory behind us, we trudged on through to the next bump on the road before Christmas Eve... a couple of gifts to buy, a lunch date, and a doctor appointment.  All three in Waco, but no matter.  Eric and I could do this together!  We did, too.  And when we got home, we discovered a problem.  

The problem seemed to not get too much worse, and honestly, I got going with dinner and then dinner cleanup and baths and we didn't notice it much until potty time at bedtime.  Then, at 8:30 in the evening  at least 45 minutes away from urgent care, it got worse.  All of a sudden, it was apparent that we had to do something to help her.  

Once the boys were in bed, we loaded her in the van in her Minnie nightgown and warm pants and princess tennis shoes, and she rode snug with her Rudolph and of course, beloved Bearbearbear.  

This kid has never had to stop to potty.  Ever.  And we drive to Waco a LOT.  By the time we were ten miles out of town, she was crying and begging for the potty.  We stopped hurriedly in the only small town between our small town and Waco.  We had to keep going, because the urgent care located close to the hospital was only open until 11.  

After a trip to a darkened building and a conversation with a rude receptionist... laughing in someone's face when they ask how long it will be before his daughter is seen... it became apparent that we had been duped.  This was ER.  We felt SO stupid.  

We found a seat as far away from the general population as we could, thinking surely that the ladies who had given up and camped out under blankets, completely asleep, had to be homeless or without power.  Surely they hadn't been here that long waiting.  

Ha.  Hahaha.  Right.  

Over the next four and a half to five hours, we watched all manner of the city's population flow in and out of the ER waiting room.  There was one man who came to sit and wait who had a cough I will never forget.  I'll also never forget wanting to throw myself over my daughter to shield him from his uncovered cough's germs.  

Miserable in ER waiting area.  

After not very long, maybe under an hour, we were called back to triage.  I thought we would be seen then.  But it turns out that triage is quite the little tease to cases like ours.  She wasn't in a life-threatening situation, with no fever even.  We made our way back out to the waiting area, and the real wait began.

Maelynn was none the wiser.  She fell asleep on her Daddy's lap, and that's how she spent the entire next four hours or so.  That left Eric and I in this weirdly quiet setting.  All these people, sitting in such close proximity, all obviously suffering, but not one seemed to be interested in talking to anyone.  

As we watched folks from different walks of life sit together in misery, the inability to visit with even Eric gave me a long time to think.  

There was no room in the inn.  As miserable and uncomfortable as we were sitting up all night breathing germ soup, as frustrating as it was to not be seen for hours on end, to watch others who came in after us be called back, to be stuck there wondering if we should have come at all, we were still in more comfort than the way God chose to enter the world to walk among us.  

As I realized this, I soon began to see my own selfishness.  I hadn't wanted to drive to Waco, I wanted to stay home and wrap gifts and watch Christmas movies.  I wanted to be at home.  And once we got there, I wanted nothing but to protect my child from these people.  No, I wasn't rude out loud.  I never said anything out loud, but especially as the night wore on, my thoughts became nasty.

"She doesn't look sick.  Why is she going in before Mae?"

"Why do they keep opening that door for people to walk through?!  Don't they know we're watching for the doc to come get us?  I jump every time!"

Instead of praying that those around me would feel better, instead of hoping for their best or reaching out to them, all I could do was think about how sick we were going to get.  All the diseases we had to be catching from this wait.

And of course, I picked on myself for not realizing this was going to be ER.  And for not taking her in earlier.

The grace and mercy of Christ that I love was certainly not in my heart in ER... and it hadn't been in my planning for Christmas.

Christmas had become about just doing the things Nanny did.  About missing the way things were.  About trying to hang on to what has passed.  Although I went through the motions of telling my children about Jesus, celebrating his birth and coming, I left out the role Christmas plays in the gospel.

The most adorable ER patient EVER... and "such a nice girl" according to her doctor, who even took it upon himself to buy her a drink when he couldn't find what she asked for. 

Maelynn and Mommy enjoying Rudolph one more time on my laptop.

No, Christmas isn't about Santa.  It isn't about lights, red and green, food, family, candy canes, gingerbread, or any of that other stuff.  It is about Jesus' coming.  It is about the coming of someone who, fully God and fully man, lived so that we could have relationship with God the father.  

And if he went to all that trouble... all that trouble to come to earth, promise us life more abundantly, teach us how to live, and die and then be RAISED from the dead to conquer sin and hell once and for all, I think he intended us to love the beauty and wonder this world offers.  We are his.  We are not of this world, no.   But we are here.  

No, candy canes, lights, trees, and their like aren't specifically Jesus oriented.  But they are how we make one of the most important parts of the gospel of Christ known and celebrated in this house.  They are some of the things that make this time of year markedly different and special.  

It hasn't snowed, and though I prayed my head off that we wouldn't, we did bring sickness back from the ER.  Five trips to actual urgent care, three colds, flu, and two cases of strep later, we're well again.  But sick or well, we lived Christmas.  We served each other, we expressed our love for each other and gratitude for our means in gifts, and we remembered that we are given such wonderful decorations and culture and memories to enjoy... and in those things, in basking in the pleasure they give while offering thanks to God for it all, we worship.  

In all my worry that we wouldn't have a worshipful, meaningful, Christ-centered Christmas, I almost threw out the beauty and wonder of the life more abundant we are given.  

And so, while we study the reason for the birth of Christ, the importance and life-giving of his coming, we also relaxed and enjoyed more of what there is around us.  We looked around and saw things that made our hearts merry and light, and enjoyed and were grateful for them.  Without worry that the merriness and light were taking away from the realness of Christmas, Christ's realness and relevance swirled around us and through us and among us.  The warmth of his light and life warmed our hearts as we took in the lights, realizing that all that is good is a gift to be treasured.  

Christmas was in it all.   It's in today, it's in tomorrow.  It's in the enjoyment of the retelling of the story, in the candle-lit Christmas Eve service, and in the manger around the holiday itself.  But it's in so much else.  It's part of our everyday make up.  It's part of what makes us, the lowliest of the low, worthy and loved and cared for by God himself.  It has nothing to do with things like Nutcrackers, music, candy, food, and the like... until those things bless the hearts of those he loves.  When the beautifulness of this world's cultures and art and music and all they entail warm our hearts and help us relate to others and thus relate HIM to others, he is in them.  

No, it hasn't snowed for Richie and Maelynn.  And it likely won't, due to our climate.  But their desire for snow, coupled with a long night in ER gave us the most wonderful Christmas yet.  It wasn't perfect, no.  But Christ was truly in it, through its ups and downs and sleepless nights, through the smiles of the family we haven't seen in forever, through the tastes and sounds and sights of the season, we were blessed and feel a little closer to him.  

Thanks be to God for Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. I took a lot away from reading about your experiences at Christmas, but I'll just say this...I wish I could send you little ones some snow!! There is something precious about the way they put out their faith to believe. Maybe never know!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...