A new series called My Life Outside the Internet. Because I refuse to be a part of the dishonest Internet game any longer.Everyone is posting photos of their adorable home Christmas décor, and I’m like there is literally not one space in my house clean enough to sit, much less take a picture.
Everyone is busting out statuses and Instagrams of Christmas cheer, and I’m thinking ‘Teenager, you need to slowly back away from me, run, and pretend we never saw each other.”
Everyone is posting pictures of immaculately wrapped Christmas presents, and last night I found a baby shower gift I have yet to wrap…over a month after the shower.
Everyone is snapping pictures of their festive fingernail polishes, and I’m just wishing this toenail fungus would go away.
Everyone (well maybe just my favorite blogger) dyed her hair from dark brown to bleach blonde last week and it looks incredible, and I’m remembering when I went to the hair salon last month and wasn’t charged because I left with my hair such a disaster.
Everyone (well maybe just two of my good friends) were texting about the gourmet-ish meals they made last week while I was sitting on my dog hair-covered couch eating Ramen and Cheetos as a 27-year old.
Everyone is debuting stylin’ winter garb of boots and scarves and hats, and I’m just wishing I would unpack that suitcase I took to Arizona over a month ago.
Everyone’s lives are looking so perfect on the internet these days, and I’m wondering if I’m the only one who is so far behind on cleaning, gifting, cooking, sleeping and pretty much life in general?
And then there’s the real stuff.
The real emotions I feel as I walk beside my 19-year old friend living in the end stages of cancer.
The real feelings of helplessness as I watch friends battle anxiety and depression.
The real feelings of failure as I physically can’t be in as many places as people are asking me to be.
The real tears streaming from stories about Syria.
The real inability to be ourselves and fully express who we are and what we believe.
The real unfulfillment of feeling creatively claustrophobic in a job and the powerless feeling of being overwhelmed as the to-do list piles up.
The real feelings of betrayal toward a Christian institution that wronged a friend to an unforgiving degree.
The real angst-ridden confrontation in my thoughts of how to best befriend those that I know are lonely.
The real lack of words I can express when talking to friends experiencing fertility problems and miscarriages.
For this to be the most wonderful time of the year, it’s sure an easy season to feel less than. To compare myself in ways I didn’t even know I cared about. Insecurities, self-loathing, stress, chaos, worry and self-doubt seem to be enhanced in the glow of these merry and bright days.
But a sob story this is not. It’s simply a look into a real life that does not stop as the Christmas carols start.
I’ve been trying to take myself back to the manger. I say ‘trying’ because this socially connected world we live in can make it almost impossible to remember that while I am less than, He is more than. But. I’m trying.
I’ve been imagining the scene in my head almost daily. Imagining how different it must have been from what those familiar songs lead us to believe.
For a silent night it was not. A holy night, yes, but a silent night, no.
It was anything but perfectly planned, perfectly executed or perfectly put together. There were messes. There was stress. There was pain.
I’ve tried to envision Mary and Joseph scrounging to find a place to deliver a baby. The anxiety and uncertainty of their unborn child’s safety only adding to the strain of a birth. I see Mary hunched in shock as the contractions set in while Joseph’s wide yet tired eyes burst forth from his helpless reaction. The solidarity they might feel as she clenches his dusty hand with all of her might and they both taste the salty sweat drip from their brow. The unsteady cries of a young girl wondering if she will even make it through the night. Mary and Joseph labored through real fear and real pain to bring forth a perfect being into their frightfully imperfect reality.
And born from that exhausting, terrifying night came hope for creation evermore.
Immanuel. God with us.
Most of my days are not Internet worthy. All is not usually calm and all is not always bright. For a silent life I do not live. A holy one I strive for, yes, but a silent one it is not. It’s tiring and messy and emotional. But hopefully it is this way because I am laboring to share a perfect hope and peace and joy with others found in their own frightfully imperfect reality.
Immanuel. God with us. God revealed in us.
So as we expectantly wait a few more days to celebrate Love come down, we remember that just like Mary we will make it through the night. That in the midst of those exhausting, terrifying hours shines the One who will banish night itself. And somewhere in the midst of our laughter and tears, our joy and sorrow, our satisfaction and hunger, we proclaim that Jesus in fact is not the reason for the season. He is quite simply the reason. And we messily, shakily, chaotically banish the night for others.
Last week I unbelievably found 6, yes 6, empty toilet paper rolls scattered around our bathroom floor. Maybe if I had done any sort of laundry in the last 4 weeks I would have seen them sooner, but no, I left those dirty clothes piling in the bathroom, and I didn’t get to those toilet paper rolls when I should have. And you know what?