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life is a bed of roses

January 6, 2010

I have returned, dear readers, after being out of commission with an unidentified flu-type bug.  It only took me a few days to shake the illness, thanks to a lot of liquids (water & tea), an overload of vitamins, an endless supply of soup and plenty of sleep.  I have to admit I didn’t mind starting the New Year under such conditions.  I feel very relaxed and well rested after a surprisingly difficult Christmas.  I didn’t get as much accomplished over the long New Year’s weekend as I had hoped, but that doesn’t change my excitement for the unknown potential of 2010.

I know I shouldn’t have been surprised that Christmas had its hardships.  The holidays often bring about heightened expectations, even if the expectations are unintentional or come from the best intentions.  With such expectations there are bound to be disappointments.  Things never go as smoothly as we anticipate or imagine.  When that happens, one can either hold onto his frustration or offer it up and let the Holy Spirit take over.   

When my spiritual director encourages me at the beginning of November to pray that God would reveal what virtue or aspect of life He wants to be born in my at Christmas, she also reminds me that the process will not be easy.  “Think of it in terms of a woman giving birth to her child,” she says.  “There is pain involved, and sometimes unexpected complications.  So will it be when the Lord brings about a virtue or aspect of life in you.”  This has been true for the past two Christmases, and I expected a challenge. 

This Christmas, there were plenty of things that did not go as planned.  Most were small details and miscommunications that took patience, honesty and humility from all parties and were quickly resolved.  One major detail, however, was not so easily resolved.  It threatened to destroy my entire family’s enjoyment of Christmas.  It threatened, but did not succeed.  Our festivities were strained, but everyone grew in patience, love and appreciation of one another.  As I said, I expected a challenge; I just didn’t expect it to be so difficult.  But it was what it was, and I did grow in patience, which was the gift God gave me this year.  (I would have been happy if God had given me a husband for Christmas, but I’ll take what I can get.  Maybe next year…)

Along with somewhat difficult Christmases, the past couple of years also saw rocky starts to the new year due to Buckeye bowl game losses.  Still, I was able to move on.  I saw the losses, not as a foreshadowing of doom for the rest of the year, but took the attitude of “the worst part of the year is over – it can only get better from here”.  It was a choice to make the most of the situation; to accept the difficulties and learn from them rather than wallow in them. 

I had a similar choice this year: Do I accept the Rose Bowl victory as the highlight of my year or should my jubilation be a starting off point, a springboard for the good things yet to come?  I have chosen the latter.  The OSU Buckeye victory at the Rose Bowl is one heck of a way to start the year!  And reader, it is only going to get better! 

If there is one thing I’ve learned between Christmas and the Rose Bowl, it is that life is bed of roses.  There will be thorns among the petals, but it is a bed of roses, just the same.

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