I hate holidays. Indiscriminately. Indiscriminately with the exception of Easter. I love Easter, for some reason Easter is more about Jesus and how He rose from the dead than it is about my problems. Probably because He rose from the dead and I am really excited about that. Really, really excited about that.
I hate holidays. They make me brood. They put me in a really, really bad mood. They make me sad. Really, really sad. Because they remind me of what is not as it could be.
They remind me when I was a child. When I was a child, there were two sides of the family gathering. On one side of the room sat everyone who believed one thing. On the other side of the room sat everyone who believed anything else. When I became an adult, I walked across the room and I put my faith in Jesus.
Now the most important people on the one side of the room believe I am going to hell. Sometimes they tell me this, but always it is there between us. I am tired of the line down the center of the room. It is not just that they believe I am going to hell. They also believe they are going to hell. One actually said to me the other day, “When we are in hell, ….” as if it was a given and something for which one should make plans. Hey! Don’t count me in! I believe in Jesus.
I hate holidays. I really, really hate holidays. Indiscriminately without reservation. I hate holidays. Can I quit pretending I am happy when there is one?
I came home from church today. Home to a friends’ house I was house-sitting and sat in their backyard, thankful for the solitude but hating that I was alone. Annoyed at their dog’s whimpering, but glad she was there.
When it comes down to line in the center of the room, there are all kinds of lies that people like to tell me. They do not like me to feel sad. I drew a line down the center of a paper. On one side I wrote “What God does promise”. On the other, “What God does not promise”. What the columns say does not make me feel good, but at least it is truth as I read it in Scripture.
Then I had a fairly pleasant afternoon, considering it was a holiday. I played piano until my wrists hurt, I danced like no one was watching, and soaked in the sunshine on the first absolutely perfect weather day of the season. And as I danced through doing the dishes, I made another list. On one side of the page was the “right response” to the people on the other side of the line. On the other side of the page was the “wrong response”.
On the wrong side of the page, was saying it doesn’t hurt, saying it shouldn’t hurt and believing that someday after I am healed I will be okay with the line in the center of the room. That learning how to be okay with the line is a sign of growth as a person and a Christian instead of a sign of apathy to the pain in this world.
On the right side of the page, I realized I should admit the pain. I realized if I was like Christ, the pain would hurt me because it hurts Him. But I also realized something I am not sure I have ever realized before. As I grow and heal, the line will hurt me more but control me less.
I came to my actual home and eventually made all the obligatory phone calls. I felt like a champion who ought to receive a medal. I think that is the first time I have called everyone I should on a holiday. It felt good. But talking to all these people reminded me of all these things. The tone of dreaded disappointment in their voice at my life, at my decisions, at my goodbye.
So I watched a movie until I could ignore it no more. Then I went out to my doorstep and sat down in the amazingly warm night air and prayed and cried. I eventually realized something in a different way than I have ever realized it before. The line has not just confused them. It has confused me. When will I ever remember to fight for people not against them?
And it hurt worse. Worse than it ever has. Because now I admit it. I hate holidays. I indiscriminately hate holidays. With the exception of Easter, I hate holidays. But I like Easter, because Jesus rose from the dead. I am a really, really big fan of that.
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. – John 3:36
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9
I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.