We decided against getting a tree this year. Since I’m leaving on Monday, it seemed a bit silly to pay, you know, $88 for something we’d barely enjoy. At first I thought maybe we could get a little live tree — miniature and sweet and all that. But even that, Ryan enlightened me, would be a silly expense.
So no tree —
Until Tuesday night, when Ryan came home from work bearing a gift: a very tiny potted tree for us to set on the kitchen table and hang our advent books on. And no ordinary tree, at that. He brought me a rosemary Christmas tree.
This means that I will be able to plant our little tree and enjoy its herbal contributions to my cooking all year long.
It also means that there are some funny-looking spots where I’ve already yanked a few branches and thrown them into the pot.
Shouldn’t all Christmas trees be rosemary bushes?
Today is the day: Packing Day, Laundry Day, Iron-all-Ryan’s-shirts Day, Cleaning Day, and Mail-the-packages Day.
Somebody else wanna do this day for me? These are not my favorite kinds of days.
Today is also a birthday. Yes, my dear friend is having a birthday, but I won’t say her name, and I won’t talk anymore about it, because the truth is we’re all (we three Musketeers, that is) edging closer to 30 than we’re comfortable with. The good news, of course, is that I’m the youngest; they’ll both be 30 waaaay before me.
Jameson has never been a good napper, as I’m sure you’ve heard before on this here blog. The last 48 hours, though, he’s been as bad as ever. Suddenly it’s impossible to lay him in his crib without him waking up and crying. Literally, the second his bottom touches the mattress, he’s awake. And crying. Day 1 wasn’t fun, but I lived, and chalked it off to “one of those days.” Day 2, I decided to just push him for as long as possible, get him good and tired, and then surely. Surely!… It was not to be.
[end rambling intro to story]
So yesterday afternoon, he’d fallen asleep for the fourth time, and I stood cradling him in front of his crib, ready to attempt laying him down for the fourth time. Through my loving, selfless mind flew words something like, Oh my goodness, if this kid doesn’t take a nap, heaven help me, I’m gonna —
I’m not sure what threat I was going to throw at heaven. Probably nothing. Probably just a big fat bluff, as usual.
But I never got that far.
My lovely train of thought was interrupted by a certain refrain. Loud and clear (in my mind) came the words:
Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire…
I almost laughed out loud.
I suddenly saw this long string of failed naps as one big refining fire. Yes, I was the gold, the silver, full of impurities that would only be brought out in the heat of the fire. And every time that bottom hit the mattress, and my dreams of an hour’s productivity came crashing down around me, the refining fire was being turned up a notch. Selfishness, impatience, frustration, selfishness (did I already say that?) were being brought to the surface.
And it was my choice to see this crib as an altar, a place to yield my heart and all of its failings, or to cling to my ugliness and walk away unchanged.
When Derek would sing that at youth rallies, and I would commit my whole self to the sanctifying process in response, I can’t say that I ever was picturing the crib-side drama of the last two days.
And I could be tempted to say, “This is soooo much less glorious than what You led me to believe it would be!”
But the truth is, I was totally blessed yesterday to realize that here, in my humble little life that can seem so much less than spiritual, there is an altar. Embracing motherhood doesn’t mean leaving all of the exciting encounters with Jesus behind. Nope, not at all. In fact, if I’m attentive, I’ll realize that amazing altar calls and radical calls to surrender are abounding, and Jesus is here in my house!
I love, love, love that He is Emmanuel.
(I think I’ve said that before, too.)
[And now I need to go change a dirty diaper. Oh yes, the high and noble calling… :)]