Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coming Home to a Better Way


Today I went the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  The pharmacist rang up my order, and I pulled my wallet out only to hear that my total was zero dollars.  I stared.  How could I be purchasing something for nothing?  Your insurance covered it, she explained.  Your deductible.

I still could not wrap my mind around it.  Didn't the year just start --

And then I remember.  It's November.  Halfway through, in fact.  If I had a calendar, it'd still be hinging open to February, I think.

November.  Not only the eve of my girl's birthday, but also the threshold of the holiday season.

And -- I'm dreading it.  The crazy lines at Target, tinsel-laced everything, the cultural/consumerist pressure to enjoy rather grotesquely opulent holiday dinners. 

I'd rather skip it.  Stick my head in the sand until January.  Most of the folks I chat with about it these days are feeling the same way.  Overwhelmed.  Looking for meaning.  Longing for quiet.  And the words of those who try to answer are drowned out by the sound of cash registers and emptying bank accounts.

Just about two years ago now, I was walking through every minute of every day as if I was stepping barefoot on shards of glass.  My baby had just died inside me, and I'd birthed her, and we'd held her and then handed her over to be burned away to ash.  Our firstborn became our first deceased.  And all this just days before Thanksgiving.

When Black Friday arrived, my husband and I found ourselves at Best Buy.  Not because we wanted to shop, but because I (we) needed -- something.  Comfort?  Answers?  To feel not-alone?  But the churches and meeting places were closed and everyone was out buying and buying.  So we went to the shops, witnessed the madness, because excessive purchasing is apparently what we do here in America.  What's more, we do it the very next day after (and, increasingly, the day of) giving thanks for the enough that we enjoy. 

There has to be a better way. 

I don't want to dread the holidays.  Because there is such a richness there.  A day of gratitude?  A season of anticipating and celebrating Holiness donning humanity?  The freshness of Epiphany and a new calendar year?

There is so much.  So much mystery, and beauty, and story, and questions, and meaning.

And instead of asking the questions, instead of leaning into the mystery, we're buying a lot of stuff that we don't need.

I want to do it a better way.  Because up until now, my reaction has been to trudge around grumpy and wholly grinchy, fully of complaint.

This year I'm going to try to do it a better way.  Want to join me?


  1. Your writing is gently poignant. Your loss is heart aching. Your outlook on the holidays seems a lot like mine - overconsumption of food then products, things we don't need. It saddens me.

    For us in Canada, Thanksgiving is generally not filled with a crazy day of sales afterward but some stores have taken on the Black Friday sales as well to keep the money here.

    I am thankful for those who see more in the holidays then running around buying things that we don't need or buying for others things they don't need or may not like.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, moongirl. I hope this year your holidays are more filled with meaning and mystery.

  2. This ---> "I want to do it a better way. Because up until now, my reaction has been to trudge around grumpy and wholly grinchy, fully of complaint."

    There does have to be a better way. Something other than it-just-feels-all-wrong. Yes, yes, yes.

  3. Beth, sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing that which must hurt to the core. My son passed away at 3 days old, and though over 20 years ago I wonder what my 24 year old son would have been like and what life would have brought his way. A search for deeper meaning, understanding is what we all need to reflect on especially in a time where so many around the world are going through the midst of it. Hope you have a blessed weekend. Amanda

  4. As you know Beth, new perspective is on the horizon as the holidays dawn. Twice daily trips to the infusion clinic all Thanksgiving Week and thankful for it! Yes, there is a better way than the warped holidays that the world "celebrates." Let's do it a better way. It reminds me of the book of Hebrews. The word "better" is used over and over. I bet if you do a little word search on it, you love that God led you to use that word "better." Remembering Eve with you on the eve of the holy days. Thanks for your prayers. They haven't gone unanswered.

  5. *hugs* to you - I pray a whole heap of this - "There is so much. So much mystery, and beauty, and story, and questions, and meaning." - for you this season.

  6. I'm so grateful for your words, and the way you carry grief and grace together.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King