When I was in my youth I felt like I didn’t need a specific place to talk to God. I could do that in any setting, whenever I wanted to. I can still remember one very intense afternoon when I had that conversation while walking in the woods.
I still went to mass back then but I resisted it. I was impatient during the service, often glancing at my watch to see how much of the hour was still left before I could leave and continue my day.
I’ve grown much wiser in the intervening years.
What a wonderful thing it is, to know someone in one context and then see them in a totally different role.
Last week I spent time with a man who I know as a priest, a military officer and a friend but I’ve never seen him with his family.
Straight and simple, we all lead layered lives.
There’s the life we lead in public. The life we present to the majority of the people that know us. In short, our Facebook life. The majority of the time it’s a filtered life of highlights, funny moments, celebrations, shared causes, and occasionally a request for good thoughts or prayers.
Which brings us to the layers beneath that public life, the layers we so often mask over or try to hide…..our concerns and our trials, our misconceptions, the deepest hurts harbored in our hearts, the crosses we carry.
Therein lies the real truth of who we are and what makes us.
I didn’t write a blog post in response to last week’s “delta” photo challenge because my muse failed me. I looked the word up to try to gain insight. My husband and I talked about it’s meaning in relation to mathematical statistics and I read other’s posts about growing up in delta regions but just couldn’t grab hold of a connection between my experiences and the word.
Posting wasn’t the only thing I almost didn’t do this past week.
I almost skipped going to mass on Sunday. My husband and I had co-hosted a party on Saturday night that had been many months in the planning so waking up Sunday morning and heading out to church didn’t happen. In the back of my mind I knew 5:00 mass that evening was out there but honestly, I didn’t expect to go.
But I did. And there, five days past the day I normally post my blog, I found my delta.
A lock is certainly an outward symbol of security.
I’m a big believer in traditions.
As a military family our surroundings changed constantly. Each move brought new experiences and ways to celebrate the Christmas season so things that happened within our family every single year were essential to defining our sense of home during the holidays…..homemade Chex Mix, the tree with the careful placing of ornaments collected over the years, watching It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas, making butter cookies and countless batches of english toffee, the sending and receiving of cards that connect us to people all over the world, the choir singing Christmas carols at mass, a house that glows with tiny white lights, both inside and out.
It’s just not this time of year without those things.
Except this year it’s all different.
Christmas is in storage.
There’s sunset the night before……
Sunset the night of July 27th, the night of Ken’s death. Photo credit to Jeanne Garman.
and then there’s the stark reality of the morning after.
On the morning after, you wake up and for the first ten seconds your sleepy subconscious tells you this is just an ordinary day like all others.
Until you remember.