We’ve had record-breaking storms for the past few days. Our driveway is under water and yesterday when we were driving home after visiting some friends, a huge oak tree had fallen across the street. Detour time. Yesterday we woke up to a puddle in our kitchen where our roof was leaking. Sigh.
But it’s almost Christmas. And I think the little stubby purple candle from the first week of Advent is (barely) going to make it.
This week I’m remembering “love never fails.” On Monday I attended a friend’s father’s memorial Mass while I waited to hear news about the arrival of a new baby from a friend who was in labor. And I listened to the reading from 1 Corinthians, often read at weddings but so fitting remembering a father’s love for his children and God’s love for us: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” And looking up at the crucifix above the altar to see Our Lord’s arms stretched out to embrace the world with his sacrificial love: Love never fails.
And I’m particularly remembering the Lenaburgs this week who are saying goodbye to their beautiful daughter Courtney who is just hours away from leaving this world. Unimaginable pain, loss, and grief—but their motto has been “love always wins.” Love never fails. Because Christianity doesn’t offer any promise to avoid suffering–but seeks to find joy even in suffering. Because love never fails. And we see that all-surpassing love every time we look at a crucifix. Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
I don’t think I really understood how sorrow and love are connected until I became a mother. And the electric shock of the weight of the love I felt for my tiny baby boy hurt.
I love the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his wife, Joy Davidman. It follows their romance and the impact of Joy’s terminal cancer. At one point when she is in remission, she tries to talk to Lewis about what they both know is ahead.
Joy: It is not going to last, Jack.
Jack: We shouldn’t think about that now. Let’s not spoil the time we have together.
Joy: It doesn’t spoil it. I makes it real…What I am trying to say is that the pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal.
I haven’t seen the move in over a decade but I remember that scene so vividly. The pain then is part of the happiness now. That’s the deal.
And since I just had to call poison control because Gwen was eating diaper cream, I should probably wrap this up. I don’t think it’s getting any more clear than this mishmash of words: Pain. Sorrow, Loss. Love. Life. Christmas. Love Never Fails. Love Always Wins. And we see it in the manger all the way to the Cross.
OK, that’s as deep as it’s getting over here since I’m going to aim high and avoid the ingestion of any other possibly dangerous substances by my toddlers for the rest of the day. BUT, I may have put together a Christmas playlist for you last night of weird stuff I like that maybe some of you will like, too. You can listen to it on Spotify.
A few notes:
I only put THREE Sufjan Stevens songs on there. Who’s impressed? Serious self-control.
Only Johnny Cash can sing Little Drummer Boy and not make me want to cover my ears and scream.
I think the Bright Eyes song was added to the playlist by Senior Year in High School Haley. My apologies.
Merry Christmas, friends.