Invited

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I watch this movie “While You Were Sleeping” every year along with other Christmas favorites. There are two scenes that always stir my heart. The scene where Lucy says ” Have you ever been so alone you spend the night confusing a man in a coma?” and the scene above, where Lucy sits watching the family simply “do family”, knowing she doesn’t truly belong there, but just thankful for the opportunity to watch it unfold in front of her, thankful for being included.

There is a longing to be invited into those places. The places that do not belong to me, the places I have not been invited into but wish I were, the places where I “watch through the window from the front porch”.  There is a relating to feeling “so alone”, and a hunger to simply taste the crumbs of what I ache for as I watch it play out in others lives.

And yet as I think on why it is that I don’t belong where I want to belong, or why I’m not invited to where I really want to join in, I am reminded that Jesus too knocks on MANY doors that refuse to invite Him in and that there are many places that He is not welcome. He longs to be invited just like I do.

He reminds me in the stillness of my heart that I do have places where I am invited and welcomed, and that the places where I am not, as lovely as they may seem, may not hold the satisfaction that I imagine they do.  I may never have “my own” family, and I may never get married, and I may just have to decide to be content with watching through the window of the lives I long to be a part of.

Oh and how guilty it makes me feel for wanting more. What I have is good and real and yet the ache for more is just as real.  I don’t want to spend another Christmas sitting in a room with parents that do not love me, with parents that are not capable of loving me, and having to balance that truth with the desire to have the experience of a loving parent.

I swing back and forth between being ok with the crumbs left over from the celebration and wanting my very own loaf all to myself. I try to make myself ok with just being allowed to sit in the same space and watch people do “family” the way it is supposed to be done and yet at the same time I want to force my way into being wanted and invited and demand that I be accepted and loved. But life does not work like that, not on this side of heaven.

I am grateful for the family I have that does love me, and the lengths that they go to in order to include me and bless me. I am thankful for my friends who welcome me in at any time. I am also grateful for a God who understands wanting to be invited in, a God who understands wanting more.

Most wonderful time of the year?

I LOVE Christmas. All of it, everything about it from start to finish. I love the lights, the crisp air, the crunching of snow, the music, the colors, ornaments and the memories they carry, watching people get blessed, the giddiness of little ones, the anticipation, the joy, the food, the friendship, the love and the celebration of Jesus, all the cheesy movies and the hot cocoa…..

This year it is different. Actually the past few years have been different. This year I have chosen to actually let myself feel the authentic feelings that refuse to be plastered over with a smile and a false pretense. This year I hate Christmas. Yes, I said it, and I used the word hate.

This year the never ending streaming of Christmas music leaves an actual physical ache in my chest. This year I can’t even walk into the storage room that houses my decorations, let alone put them up. This year I can’t stop crying, and my aching soul is filled with shame at my selfishness, and I’m “should-ing” all over myself.  I should be: happy, joyful, celebrating, thankful for what I have, thankful I’m not worse off, thankful period. But I’m not.

  Instead I’m wrestling with God for answers. A God who I know doesn’t owe me anything, a God I should be in awe of and respectful toward and yet He is the same God who appears to be failing me time and time again. Doesn’t He see my pain? The Bible says He does. Does He care? The Bible says He does. Aren’t these longings and desires from Him? The Bible says they are. Then why do they feel like torture?

This Christmas I do not want any gifts. Truly and honestly I just don’t want any part of it. I am in too much pain. My soul is in anguish and it’s all I can do to just lift my head off the pillow. My season of mourning continues and it goes against everything that my mind is screaming at me. It goes against every message being broadcast across our nation, our church, our neighborhood, and even my own mind. Yet it is very real and it just is.