I’ve been writing these advent posts knowing my mom will be in treatments for a cancer that is near impossible to cure and a hard one to fight throughout this advent season. There is a child who cries loudly across the hall from my mom’s room where she waits for her next dose and the nausea and rigors that will come. Daily I see news from Moms Against Gun Violence reporting the latest shooting. It is the season every charity I’ve ever given to sends photos of the people in need in letters and emails asking, please, help.
There are suicides and shooters and fires. There are accidents and ambulances. There are wars and rumors of wars.
Panic is ever close at hand and to fight it I send out texts to my husband, my mother-in-law, close friends: please pray I am overwhelmed and shaking and I need to make dinner yet for my kids. Lydia needs to be picked up from gymnastics. Life must keep on happening. There is no room for panic here, and so I pray and I ask others to pray.
And with shaky hands I pull out an onion, slice the dry skin down the side and peel away until the soft insides are revealed. I cut it in half and focus on dicing the pieces evenly until my breathing evens. The pace is swift and clipped against the cutting board. Once those are done I toss them in oil and stir as they sizzle, then cut some more vegetables, a zucchini or two or three to make something out of this nothing.
This action distracts and settles along with whatever spirit swirls in this space we can’t measure and I will take it all – the thoughts the prayers the action – it moves me forward and I have to keep moving forward.
This is what advent offers, perpetual hope for something more, something greater, an increase, an abundance, a something where there once was nothing, a healing, a strength out of weakness, a peace beyond understanding, a love that knows no conditions, a grace that has no boundaries.
This is why I write during this season, knowing the darkness will not let up for even one silent night, but in the darkness we can find calm. We can find bright.