Sunday, November 20, 2011

Holiday High Wire Acts

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

I am on a platform looking out at a tightrope arching into thin air.  As much as I'd like to go back, the past is filled with unresolved history that shadows every step I take and every breath I breathe. I do not delude myself into believing that a 2nd chance would bring resolution. The rest of the year, I can ignore the pressure filling my chest. Some days, I can even pretend it is not there.

As the holidays approach I can no longer maintain ignorant bliss. Every step into the future feels more and more like a circus high wire act.  When ignorance was bliss, I thought the tightrope would involve managing multiple schedules between the homes of multiple family branches. As an adult, I felt sorry for friends with step-families who did the exhausting jig required to keep 4 or more sides of an immediate family appeased. Ignorance is bliss when your dance has only begun.

I feel the mean girl in me fighting to get out. The movie can't hold a candle the the pain my mean girl wants to share. I want to flip the switch. I know I can unleash the kind of chaos that was introduced into our lives before we were even us. The vengeful one in me wants to stir up trouble for the ones that have troubled us.

I take a deep breath and tell myself it is a calming one. “The chaos breathed into our lives by others has been enough,” I tell myself. “I owe it to my survivor to keep myself in hand rather than increase his pain by wrecking more havoc upon chaos.” I breathe deeply to calm my ragged breathing. I will not do to others what was done to us. So, why do I fight this internal battle yet again?

I know now why my finger hovers above the computer keys as my Facebook friends count off their thankful things. I could not even bring myself to offer a 'sacrifice of praise' even tho' it felt blasphemous to withhold mine given the state of perpetual blessing in which I live. It makes sense now that I know.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I cannot do it because I am holding my raggedy breath. I am waiting to see if we get through the next 6 weeks or so unscathed. I don't know why I spend anytime wondering. We won't. The question is, rather, how bad will the damage be? Every year, I tell myself it will be better. We are used to our necessary boundaries. We feel safer for them. Surely, muscle memory will strengthen us to the task.

I tell myself I feel calmer. Until, that is, another stress rears its head. My cup of stress was already full. The balance of surface tension is overwhelmed. In trying to cope with yet one more crisis, the agony in my soul-cup sloshes out in messy waves around my kitchen. My reaction was autonomic. My soul told me it was time to fight or fly. I could do neither. Or so, I thought.

August 2011
I lashed out before I realized what I was doing. The damage was done; my reaction seemed senseless because it was. The damnable monster in the shadows reached out through me and reminded us that we are not really free. I am exhausted.

I hear distant voices saying, “Forgive.” They had not walked with us through the door of the room labeled 'horror'. They had not walked with us in the silent darkness of a marriage robbed of life before it had even begun. They had no idea the energy it took to live to fight another day. Their forgiveness required that we look away and hope the horror would disappear if we ignored it long enough. We chose life...such as it is. I am reminded of the cost every year this time.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
How easy it would have been to take them up on their offer. As the airwaves saturate with one holiday feel good movie after another, I want the picture perfect post card family that always reconciles as the final beats of the movie fade away. I want my life to be scripted just that way. I want the life that was taken from me. I want the monster to pay. The mean girl in me cannot stand it even one more holiday.

I always wanted a house full of family and friends. My ear strains to hear the doorbell ring. My nose twitches in expectation of smells so holiday bright they come in technicolor scents. I wanted a place that was safe and warm to shelter the weary and faint of heart from the cold realities of life.

Today, I again grieved the loss of a post card family suitable for filming. I grieved the loss of the head cheerleader I always thought I'd be. I grieved the slower pace and emptier space my life entails because it is not sufficient to fill my heart and home this year.

Christmas 2008
And hit me. Every time one of you clicks on the link to this blog, my virtual doorbell rings. I am there saying, “Welcome home. Come, get out of the cold. Sit a spell. Let's celebrate. Let's celebrate that even tho' we are walking wounded, we have lived to fight another day.”

I have invited you to a feast for the soul. I have not made promises I couldn't keep as I've struggled to find my good God with the good plan again. And yet, you come and keep coming. I hope you feel you've found a place to come in from the cold. I hope you leave here strengthened to fight another day. 

Courtesy B. Creasy
You have strengthened me. You have strengthened the fabric of our family. You have confirmed that despite our solitary walk, we do not walk alone. For that I am eternally.......thankful. 

Ephesians 6:12 (Amplified Bible)
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

1 John 4:4(American Standard Version)
Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.


  1. I'm praying for a breakthrough Christmas for you and your family this year.
    With love,

  2. You..are real...and beautiful. Thank you. Judi

  3. Vonda...if only....the situation remains so tenuous. I so deeply appreciate your prayers and your support!

  4. Judi...if I am,
    it is because I ditched the denim skirt! Love you and our side kick too! Hugs to both of you!

  5. Praying for joy and blessings.

  6. And for your family as well, sweet friend.

  7. One of these days, I will remember to bring tissues when I click your link. *hugs*
    Praying for you!!

  8. Oh, Christy! I had just told a friend that I thought my posts were too...too poignant lately and that I need to lighten up and give us all a reason to laugh again! I am the queen of tear jerkers! Too bad soaps are going the way of dinosaurs! I'd probably fit right in writing for As the World Turns, huh? Maybe we should by stock in Kleenex...or would that be like insider trading? ;-)

  9. My Dad always called that one "As the Stomach Churns"... LOL. I don't know about "too poignant". The crying may be bad for my nose and my trash can, but I think it's good for my soul.

  10. Yea...I remember that same take on that name! Not that I'm showing my age or anything!