Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Chaos & the Mother of All Meltdowns

I had my obligatory Christmas meltdown yesterday. You know....after braving horrendous traffic, several stores and the grocery market, I had a throbbing headache, a pulled muscle in my left calf and arthritic flare-up in my knees. All psychosomatic aches and pains, for sure, except for the pulled muscle, but a lousy, overwhelming feeling all the same.

The pressures of planning, cleaning, organizing. The pressures of pleasing so many others. The pressures of chaos, expectations and limitations. The pressure of so little time.

At Christmas 2000, we were in the midst of selling our home, packing and moving. Our home sold in early December with the proviso that we vacate by December 31. LIke fools hungry for a sale, we accepted. We were told on December 15 that our house would need to be tented and us out for 3 days, at 8 AM, the day after Christmas. And the tree would need to be gone, or it would set the house afire.

We already had a tree and hated to toss it, but it was depressingly barren. A dear friend surprised us when her children made adorable paper ornaments and Veggie Tale garlands for our tree that year. We packed and packed and packed, and cleaned and shopped as much as we could. On December 24, when I was supposed to be planning Christmas dinner for ten, I had the mother of all meltdowns.

No tears, no anger, nothing. I simply stayed in bed all day, covers pulled up to my chin (and over my head, at times). I had to. It was unplanned, necessary time-out for Debi. Amid all the chaos and craziness and packing, I did nothing. I simply stopped because I had to.

Inner peace returned to me at nightfall on Christmas Eve. We went to church, where we ran into friends who offered us their lovely home for the entire stretch from Christmas to New Years. They were leaving town for Indiana, and were desperate for someone to watch the house and dog.

We junked plans for the requisite multi-course homemade holiday feast on Christams Day. After opening gifts, we treated the family to Christmas dinner at the local Marriott. The fare was delicious, and there were no dirty dishes or chores to haunt me that evening. We stayed at our friends' home (rather than a hotel) for a relaxing respite, and then moved without a hitch. We experienced an unusual, memorable Christmas that year. All was well.

And we learned again that God's timing is perfect, and that He meets all our needs.

Lord, help me remember that today. :)

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