what I find in the wanting

My husband wants a Christmas tree.

More than that, he wants the sparkling lights and shiny decorations, the Season’s songs and silver bells. He wants to open doors upon festive faces, find baking ready for sampling, and seal up envelopes with love and good wishes. He wants all of this, the planning and anticipation as well as the lists and the giving; recognizing the greatest gift within it is the celebration of birth, of most precious new life on a long ago night. The One who brings life and love and joy unending. And the One who takes it for a time.

My husband wants a Christmas tree.

But what he really wants is joy. Joy that looks like waking up to our first Christmas together, just four short months after our marriage. The one that began with a morning walk in a frosted wonderland, and later found two grown boys launching one-eyed Mike’s across the room, wearing bright yellow, pipe-cleaner clad, home-made, mom-made caps, planning out their Despicable Me movie-watching binge. The one where Cam’s new jacket swallowed him up like an aardvark, and the cat who was Jake’s wouldn’t leave his cardboard cut-out side. My husband wants the Christmas where I got that most precious phone call from Afghanistan. The call I was devastated to miss, and elated when it came again.

My husband wants that Christmas. The one where we sat back for a moment and marveled at joy. Laughter and love and the making of memories. The one where life felt almost complete, and still so open and ready for more.

Not the one where 7 days later all would fall in pieces.

But those Christmases – they are one, and they are the same.

And what happens when the season we celebrate joy is also the season we have to mark loss?

What happens when the ‘Countdown to Christmas’ means the countdown to the last day we would ever hear our child’s voice?

What happens when my husband wants a Christmas tree, and my heart is doing all it can to hold itself together?

Our hearts yearn in unison, our desires the same and yet different. Joy, yes. But how? He wants what the tree represents. Of course. When you’ve seen and felt and experienced that kind of joy, how could you not crave it again?

But we contemplate the yearning in silence. His for his wife, mine for my son.  And still the living room sits ready and wanting.

And it’s in the silence my heart reminds me; it’s not just a tree.

It’s not just a tree.

It’s a representation of love. That tree is a vehicle for my husband to experience joy. To let his eyes find their sparkle in the twinkling lights, let the songs sing to his weary heart, and let the memories wash life and love over and through him.

My husband wants a Christmas tree.

And you know what?  It’s a gift I can give, rather than take.

I think that in itself is a gift to both our hearts this year…

2 thoughts on “what I find in the wanting”

  1. Thinking of you always especially during these markers of time put before us. It hadn’t dawned on me prior that the tree part of the holiday season might be a very daunting task. You can do this! For Matt, for You and for Jake. The kiddo who wore shorts in the snow would definitely want the tree up, the baking sampled and for your fun traditions to continue. Much, much love! Jeni

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