I’ve been on hiatus in these parts recently—mostly as a detox from writing and instagram daily in October, working ahead on some Advent writing, preparing for a holiday sale I’m doing with some other small business owners in early December —let me know if you are a local Coloradan and want details about the whens/wheres of this event).
You know, the plethora of options that come up at this point of the year that you know all too well.
This post has been percolating for a while—not because I have any one point to get across or any sort of epiphany, but because I sit down, write, get distracted, save, walk away and more life happens—which I then have to sit with for a while. So, this is where I’ll jump back in.
I chose this word with great intentionality when I embarked on this practice of sharing my writing, a while back. Recently it has been bubbling up in all kinds of places—Mass, book titles, podcasts, thinking about Advent, TV shows, and grief— everywhere. This is probably an affirmation that I chose an accurate description of my faith life, or at least my relationship with this Mysterious and loving God. Thank goodness my expectations aren’t met, or are surpassed with such frequency.
In a recent conversation with friends, I shared that maybe my delight in this unpredictable relationship comes from setting the bar low. I asked if this was a poor approach to faith to set my expectations low and hope, high, and overwhelmingly they told me, ‘No.’ Rather, I think this gives God the space to work outside the confines of my pre-set agenda, which it turns out is the only place God works, anyway.
Again, it shouldn’t surprise me (and yet it has) that my body is holding the tender memory of what November might have brought for our family and the loss we feel in our child’s absence. I’ve been riding unexpected waves of sadness at the memory of what might have been this month. I did have a chance to share a piece about two unsung lady heroes of mine last Friday, here, for the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary which has provided great encouragement and food for thought on the topic of direction and discernment at moments I might not have imagined.
Somehow Thanksgiving will be here on Thursday. This is happy news for those who have the good fortune of pausing for one second of any day and realizing how blessed we really are (excellent podcast here about the careless use of ‘blessed’ and the implications of oversimplifying the gifts we enjoy). This has meant a pilgrim and Native American breakfast at school; I’ve taken the opportunity to embrace my own hope for the year to make our home a place of welcome and bread-breaking, so we are meal-planning a potluck-style Thanksgiving as we gather together with those we love, who also live far from family. This week also marks a Baptismal anniversary for my busy B who is showing me how much she has to teach me about grace and faith and love.
It’s almost here! I’m certain I get more excited about this each year—its simplicity, darkness, quiet, hopeful approach and lingering. We just finished up with an un-seasonal, pre-Advent parish mission last week and it spoke deeply of the gift of grace and the way it permeates our whole existence when we are awake to it. I believe that we know this in our bones, but I love getting to hear another’s voice tell me in their words how they came to this same conclusion and what keeps them clinging to it, still.
I hope that this week is a grace-filled one for you, starting before Thursday, and that December invites you into an unhurried new season.