I’ve recently been listening to stories of loss and grief and horrible pain via the podcast, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.”
I’ve probably listened to 15-20 of the episodes now. The host, Nora McInerny, has an incredibly sad story of loss and grief in her own life. But she is able to use her experiences of grief and tragedy to really create an incredible space for others to share their stories. She’s deeply perceptive and non-judgmental, and is an amazing interviewer and storyteller.
It’s felt oddly helpful to listen to other people’s stories of grief. The vulnerability. The way that their lives seem to match the weird balance in this life of being surrounded by the beauty of the way of grace, while living in a world where we must all still experience the cold reality of the way of nature.
And as I enter this advent season, I want to be laid bare and be open and honest with myself about my own story and my own realities. The gifts and blessings I have, and the baggage that I carry around with me everyday that hinders my own growth as well as impacts my relationships with those whom I care about most.
My soul is begging for me to push forward into the harder aspects of what it means to be intentional in addressing the aspects of myself that I have wanted to avoid. And I think that is what this last month of the year has in store for me.
I am still slowly purging and cleaning my stuff. Getting rid of things I don’t need or use. Figuring out more ways of being intentional in my life, structured. Meanwhile, we went to storage to get out all the Christmas decorations. There’s an irony about that somewhere for me.
In just a week and a half my wife, and my two sons, and I will get on a plane and travel to Phoenix, Arizona. There, my friend will pick us up in his car and we’ll drive back to Tucson for the week of Christmas. A couple days later, another one of my best friends and his wife will come to accompany us as well.
I am extremely excited about this trip. There are some elements I’m nervous about regarding the actual travel, but overall I anticipate this vacation to be a life highlight for me. I know that’s putting a lot of expectation and pressure on one week, but last year we took our Christmas vacation with this same friend in Colorado Springs, Colorado and it was one of the most fulfilling weeks of my life.
The key for me is to allow it to just happen as it happens. I have no expectations being put upon me by anyone. I don’t have eight girls to account for or teach to. I only have my own two boys, whom my goal is to focus on a spirit of adventure and exploration, of fun and family.
It is right during the peak of the Christmas season. A season pregnant with all sorts of amazing moments of depth and meaning. To experience that with some of the most important people in my life is experiencing the overlap of heaven and earth. It is my happy place.