***Warning, real stuff ahead, I’m getting all serious and things-if you are looking for a chuckle and warm fuzzy feelings you best move on, or check in later when I do a heart-warming post (do I do those type of posts? Not sure)…
Thanksgiving weekend (yeah, we are going back in time a bit since I haven’t gotten up the oomph to blog until now), the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be exact, I took the lid off the plastic storage bin that holds our Christmas decorations and started to unpack the boxes. One by one I peered inside each box, surveying the damage to the ornaments, stockings, and knick-knacks from a year of being stored in the heat and humidity. I pulled out a brightly colored wooden outline of the word “Joy” adorned not only with the sparkles that were originally affixed to it, but with a thriving layer of fuzzy mold.
Unbidden the thought came to me, “That’s about right, my joy is feeling quite moldy right now.”
Back up to the Monday before Thanksgiving when I started to prep for the big dinner we had with our MAF team. Each day leading up to the feast I worked hard and had fun cooking and baking, trying to get everything just right. Thursday evening finally came and, after having a minor meltdown because I had to carve the turkey myself and really had no earthly idea how to do that well, all 27 adults were seated at a LONG table, and 27 kids were seated at many little tables, and we bowed our heads together to give thanks to God for the food and all His blessings. At the word “Amen”, people jumped up to begin to fill plates with food for their children, kids and adults were walking everywhere, taking in the yummy goodness.
Suddenly, it went pitch black, the power, which is going through an unreliable streak lately, went out.
Total chaos ensued as people scrambled for their cell phones, emergency lights, and candles to provide enough light to see the food and each other. The food was delicious, really amazing, especially considering it’s not so easy to put together a traditional Thanksgiving meal over here. Still, as we watched the school kids put on a Thanksgiving program lit by flashlights in the hot, sticky room, and then cleaned up I kept thinking, “Seriously, after all the work everyone has done we have to eat in the dark and not really enjoy ourselves because of all the craziness, this stinks.”
I know that is totally not what I was supposed to be reflecting on at that moment. I’m sure I was supposed to be thinking about how to be thankful for all the wonderful things God has given me (and He has given me so much, don’t get me wrong), and using the discomfort and disappointment as a lesson on how to grow and embrace the frustrations in life. That’s what a good missionary would do, right?
Sorry, you didn’t get the light-filled, rise-above-it gal you might have been hoping for, you get me, ol’ moldy joy me. Bummer, huh.
So that was what set my frame of mind as I grudgingly unpacked Christmas decorations. I probably should have waited until I felt more like doing it, but I just didn’t think it would be getting much better, because, let’s face it, 90 degrees just isn’t Christmas, at least not for me, and neither is being away from family. I tried to turn on Christmas music, but every other song seemed to talk about coming home for the holidays, nope, that was just making the whole thing worse. As I wiped the mold off that ‘Joy’ shelf ornament and sprayed Indonesian-style Febreeze on my musty Christmas quilt and stockings, and threw everything that wouldn’t get ruined into the washing machine I prayed “Lord, just help me to see You in all this, give me Your joy. Or, just help me to get through it again this year…just make it to January”
I, who always loved Christmas, who (sometimes dragged) my family after me in my pursuit of Christmas traditions and fun times, now praying just to get through it-I never thought I would see that day come.
How to thrive here in this season? Because I am here after all, so continuing to pursue living here as opposed to living in a longing for home is definitely my best option. “One day at a time” keeps ringing in my mind, and the truth that the hard things won’t last forever, and the even bigger truth that there are things for me to learn on this road, good things in the struggle if I choose to let them sink in.
So, I’m looking to learn, and to let what I’ve been given where I am be enough, because really, it is enough if I think about it.
And Christmas lights still shine so pretty through the needles of the (fake) Christmas trees, even in Indonesia, and the truth and meaning of Christmas isn’t any less real…so there’s joy to be found if I choose to look.
Okay, that's it, no more serious posts for a while…I like to keep it real, but this was hard core-whew! Go drink eggnog, or, even better, get an eggnog latte from Starbucks, I would commit a serious crime for one of those right now, and embrace whatever joy you can find, moldy or otherwise!
|The infamous 'moldy joy', now freshened up!|