Friday, December 4, 2015

This time of year

As I sang along to the Christmas music on the radio while driving today, all of a sudden I caught my breathe. I thought to myself "you like this again, you like this season," and that felt good. And then from nowhere, instantly, came crushing guilt. Im not in the depths of grief anymore and for that I feel guilty. Guilty because I can bring to mind in seconds what it felt like in those first months and years after Caleb died. The first Halloween through New Years was awful and just thinking about it makes me sick. 

And so I don't think about it, I move on, month by month, year by year. And before I know it-here we are at year 5. This will be the 5th Christmas without him. So much has changed, and time has healed so many things. I no longer hide from the mailman bringing those happy Christmas cards with smiling families and live children. The music this time of year lifts me up and I find myself wanting more of it. The thought of family gatherings seems fun and not burdensome. And the hardest one-every time I see things that say "baby's first Christmas," I smile. SMILE. Not throw up, but smile. Because its Judah's first Christmas here and he's a baby and so I think of him and smile (and maybe, just maybe buy it!). For the shortest amount of time I allow myself to feel happy that I've come this far. However, the guilt is right there and feels crushing. 

Because what I hear in my head is: 

You are forgetting him

You don't love him

If you can be this happy maybe you were never really sad over his death

Maybe he never really died

Maybe he was never here

Maybe he never existed

Maybe you're crazy and just made the whole thing up

Now before you call the hospital and have me committed, know that these thoughts are normal (at least according to my counselor). And what these thoughts are-all of them-are lies. LIES. But thats the thing with lies, when they come one after another over and over again it gets hard to tell them from the truth. Hard to recognize where they end and begin. 

Oh Advent and Christmas season. I've missed you and Im glad you are bringing me joy again. But what do I do with the guilt and the lies that also come? I turn to the Lord and His word. Today's psalm was from Psalm 27 and its a favorite. I'll leave you with the verses that Ive been praying all day to fight the lies in my head :

Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

I do believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. As we wait for the Lord to come this season, may we continue to be strong and take heart.