Edit: It's not too late to skip on over to pseudostoops and add fifty- no seventy five!- cents to her donations to three not-widely-known but very deserving charities simply by commenting in each of these posts. Go now! Um, and then come back here!
I just finished reading MO Mommy's exquisite holiday post here and my gosh but you are a breathtaking writer, Erin. I just want to express my awe at your amazing ability to come up with this stuff in the midst of postpartum hormones and round the clock nursing and two energetic little boys. You have a real gift for seeing the beauty in life with small children, a life that can so often seem full of too much frustration and too little reward. Thank you for a lovely Christmas gift!
And now I'm going to send a little Christmas gift of my own to my family and friends, near and far. Consider this my Christmas letter if I don't ever get around to it this year, okay? :)
This year has frankly seemed a little unevenly tipped on the side of bad luck and disappointment for us, but here we are at the end of it, topping it off with a serious car accident and a house full of sick people, and yet I am feeling the happiest and most at peace I have in a long time. Years, maybe. Ultimately I credit God's presence in my life for this, but I cannot deny that the hands and feet of this Presence have been all of you. My faith has felt weak at times, or I've simply been so busy and so depleted and have so poorly prioritized my time that I haven't been seeking strength from the real source. Yet even when I've failed to seek it, it has followed me, piggybacking on each of you.
I'm not the greatest at expressing gratitude, at least in person, but let me say here that I am unutterably thankful to each one of you for every hot meal, every gift, every sweet comment on this blog and in the mail, every hug, every prayer. Every time you dropped what you were doing to babysit our kids so I could go get my blood drawn (again) or gave me a massage gift certificate so I could relax or told me that I was doing a great job handling things when I was feeling paper-thin and fragile on the inside. Every time we ate together on summer evenings and Sunday afternoons, every time we met for lunch, every time you came over in the evenings and hung out with us housebound parents so we wouldn't feel like we had no social life! You have been generous with your resources and even more significantly your time, and I love you for it. I've heard that "hell is other people," but in my experience, so is heaven.
I'm a big Madeleine L'Engle fan, and this segment of one of her poems, which I wrote down in a diary years ago, has come to my mind often in this past year:
Unclench your fists
Hold out your hands
Let us hold each other
Thus is His glory manifest.
Thank you all for holding out your hands and taking mine. Thank you for loving and praying for my babies, the ones here and the ones waiting for us. Thank you to our families for reminding us over and over of WHY we still want to have more kids, and why family is worth working and fighting for.
You know that song I referenced a few days ago, the one from Kelsey's Christmas mix CD that made me cry? The chorus goes like this: (last quote, I promise!)
But it feels like it's been one long Christmas dinner
One unending prayer, one unbroken line
Singing “Be Thou My Vision” by day or by night
All is calm and all is bright.
That's kind of how I feel about this year, and I have you all to thank.
Well, and eight pound six ounce Baby Jesus.