December 28, 2015
I write as rains pelt the roof and winkle their way into my basement in streams that engulf my ankles. The weather’s pitter-patter used to soothe me, a comforting lullaby that made me enjoy the comforts of a warm blanket and comfortable couch. Not any longer, though. Each splash on the window panes sinks my stomach. My arthritis flares, but worse, anxiety nauseates me. I’ll need to run the wet vac more tonight than usual to arrest the encroacher’s flow. I’ll be forced to devote another day’s efforts to the futile pursuit of a watery interloper. My shoulders and back complain, thinking of stooping and reaching and emptying burdened vacuum canisters. My psyche yearns for comfort, and the child in me wants to run away from the whole muddled mess.
Yet for my kids, I don a happy face. I wipe the worry away and try to set a good example. With home ownership comes responsibilities. Parenthood provides a deeper complexity. Fulfill obligations with a joyful heart. I sing the only song my weary mind allows, Karen Carpenter’s “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” praying for joy as I combat insidious molds and mildews creeping over our downstairs-housed belongings.
We celebrate the holiday season. Before me, an annual tableau holds my attention. An electric star illuminates my beautiful Fontani nativity. The real holy family lodged in a stable because there was no room for them anywhere more suitable in Bethlehem. Mary gave birth and set her son atop the hay in a manger. Thus, the King of the Jews began life in the lowliest of locations.
Taking the analogy further, Christianity holds Jesus as the incarnation of the Lord God. He humbled himself by becoming a human, leaving the trappings of Heaven. To save us from our foibles and save us from our sins, He set aside his immortal robes to don the decaying flesh of a mortal. If the body is the home of the soul, God’s new domicile represented a tremendous step down from his exalted state.
Around the world at this moment, people experience homelessness. They make beds of cardboard or seek the limited comforts of a shelter, if room allows. Some huddle in doorways. Others nestle into the shadows beneath bridges. Throughout the world, refugees flee their lands. Syria in particular has seen a mass exodus of people unsure where they will spend their next evening. They cradle their children, praying for kindness and welcome, possessing only what they can carry. In South America, feet of water, as opposed to the inches invading my home, claim homes, leaving families displaced. When I consider their plights, my own troubles dissolve in the rain. I work the wet vac, imitate Karen Carpenter, and remember our blessings outnumber our wet woes.
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