I didn’t get as many wreaths made as I originally intended to. Usually by now, I’ve given them to all the nurses and some of the Doctors I work with, mail/UPS persons, etc . I never made any Christmas cookies, (but the Sock Fashion Expert did). I didn’t ever get the Christmas cards hung on the wall like I usually do. I haven’t even managed to organize myself enough to buy presents for anyone except for the kids. I’m planning to do that some time in January. That is a good start to my confession of not being ready for Christmas.
Last year, I worked Christmas, and it was a really unusual day for me. I blogged about it and then I deleted it because my husband suggested that not everybody who reads my blog would understand. Its shaping out to be another one of those kind of Christmas’s for me already. I can feel it. For some reason, I just can’t do things like normal people do.
Just like last year, I’m working yet another 12 hour Emergency Room night shift. I’m working tonight too which really breaks up the holiday. I worked Thanksgiving and I’m working New Years. Its an odd way to live - working the times most people are off, celebrating with their families.
The power was out at home, and I drove through a darkened country side. It was quiet, still and cold. I felt dreary and gloomy. My snugly husband and kids were far away now. As I drove to work I tried to think of things that would cheer me up. Its really not so bad – I should be grateful I was able to pick up a shift this pay period, since I hadn’t had any yet. Not only that, I get to give a nurse an extra day with her only child who she only sees once a year. “You probably have your yearly hospital gift card there” I reminded myself. Soon I was thinking of all kinds of ways to spend the cash. Hmmm….. I could buy a special dinner to surprise my family with. I could buy MYSELF cool stuff How about my husband? Yeah, he deserves something good. On and on I thought as I drove closer and closer. Soon I was in cell service and catching up with my sister feeling a bit more cheery.
It wasn’t long before I’d gotten to the hospital and before I greedily tore into that envelope, disgusted there were no plates of cookies laying around. I stuffed the gift card into my purse and went on with my shift. To my great fortune (or maybe to Miss Belly Fat's), a big bowl of fudge miraculously appeared. Life in the Emergency Room over the holiday season is anything but mundane. It seems to intensify the best and the worst in humanity. Depression, heartache, family dynamics, failing finances due to a failing economy all find their way in. At the same time, giving, loving, joyful people can be found, excited about the Holiday season. I wish someday, that I could write about so many souls who have crossed my path, but of course I can’t. I can’t tell about the hurts and pains. I can’t tell about life and death. I’m bound by confidentiality never to tell the heart wrenching stories of terrible terrible sadness or miraculous, incredible victories that would bring tears of joy to your eyes. Sufficient to say, within me are many stories crying out to be told of which I may never tell.
It wasn’t long before I was busy. It also wasn’t long before that still small voice claimed my gift card for somebody who needed it much much more. I stalled, imagining that I was missing God, but I knew all too well I wasn’t. Grieving that still small voice is never worth doing what I want and so my gift card left, clutched in the hands of a person who knew more poverty, suffering and anguish than I could probably imagine.
What is Christmas really about anyway? Is it reading The Christmas story or a candle light church service? Is it safe at home with your family with a Christmas tree, a turkey and presents? Is it holiday cheer? Giving? The Nativity Scene? No, I guess that I am cursed and blessed with never being able to be like everybody else. I’m the one who forgets to make cookies and doesn’t get everybody’s presents until January sales. I’m the one who says “goodbye” to her children on Christmas Day and the one who hasn’t even planned out a holiday meal. I’m the one judged by those who say a woman’s place is in her home and others who don’t understand why I don’t work more. Some how, though, Christmas reveals Himself in me and Holiday Cheer can be found in a Doctors crazy light up Santa Hat, evil delicious fudge and a smile from the destitute.
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”