Sometimes you just have to keep it real.  So much of the world we present to those around us is airbrushed, sugar-coated with all the sweet, forgetting the fact that sometimes things are bitter-tasting in our mouths, that things aren’t always rosy or pretty, and are just hard.

DYP and I watched a special on the Mayan’s and their calendar recently and it said they were projecting our world is ending on December 21.  My first thought was, “Really? Before Christmas?!” Second thought: “Man, I’m going to miss my birthday!”  Third thought which should have been my first thought in the first place: “I really really really really hope we all get to heaven.”

So in Light of all the hustle and bustle of the season, I’ve thought about that show a lot — if the world was ending, what would I want my children to think of this world, what mark would I like to leave on here? And all I keep coming back to is…prepare for Jesus.  Prepare for Christmas.  Advent.

King of my heart.  Born in Poverty.  Jesus.

A Baby.

Babies slow down everything.  When you have a baby, everything takes longer…there are days between showers, nursing takes forever when you are most tired, your body takes a long time to readjust to not being pregnant, it takes forever to get anywhere, sometimes it takes forever to get them to stop crying. A 15 minute drive can seem like a 15 hour drive with a crying baby.  Babies slow things down.  Which is why it’s so peculiar that this time of year, which should be about focusing on what’s truly important is the most busy.  But what is amazing about Babies is when they are quiet, the world is quiet, still.

Last weekend DYP and I had our first EVER weekend away from our kids together. My saint of a mother came down and took care of all four kids, so we could have a get away.  He had a training in Las Vegas, so I flew there and met him after it was over.  It was amazing to have that time together after 11 years.  So much of our focus is on the care and schedule of our kids, but this weekend was about each other.  I loved it.  What struck me though was Vegas. Nothing is slow about that place.  Everything was so loud and bright.  We were so completely overstimulated, that on Saturday night we walked to a local church and went to Mass.  There was no music that night, which the priest kept apologizing about, but I was relieved, I wanted the quiet.  I wanted to focus on the prayers of mass. Nothing about my life is quiet these days.  So much of my life is filled to the brim with fillers and things, noise, and children. And I love that.  But in those moments I needed “The Word”, My husband, and the quiet and serenity of Christ.

While I was there I prayed about all of the things that don’t seem conceivable to me…the fact that I have had a cold for over a month, a pinched nerve which has forced me to miss parties, work, volunteer opportunities, working out — things I look forward to, but truly don’t matter when it comes to the real life things.  Like, the people in my life who are hurting so deeply as they await the unknown; can they conceive a child?  Will the adoption go through? Their fate so uncertain.  The bitter truth that so many I love have to grieve a child, like I have.  The women that grieve their husbands, good men, and have to learn how to live their life when “their” life is gone.  The body snatchers that is addiction. The lies people will believe when there is money involved. Denying people the right to love. The dark way depression, eating disorders, and the dark steal the joy of people I love who are so beautiful you cry to think of the black lies they believe.  Their fate is so uncertain.

And then it is pitch black.  These thoughts are so wretched that they awake the anxiety that haunted me most of my life.  Then they start lighting up like buildings on the Vegas Strip:  My husband leaving me behind.  Someone hurting my children. Something happening to my family.  Sickness, Cancer, Death.  My husband being killed at work.  And it is so incredibly loud, the anxiety in my ears, beating louder than my heart beat, telling me that I need to worry.  I need to let it consume me.  Own me. Swallow me.

STOP!

And then I’m back in that church in Las Vegas, still on the pew next to my best friend, and I see that they’ve lit the second Advent Candle, which represents Love. The light flickers and reminds me of what I do know: That even on the darkest night if you can see a glimmer of light – you can find hope.  Hope in the inconceivable.  The Christ Child was born of a Virgin.  Conceived.  If you can find the smallest flame, you can remember joy.  Joy in the smallest of things, remembering to slow down enough to keep it real.  Life is beautiful and messy.  Life can be hard, and so painful sometimes that even the smallest breathe aches but if you can find that little crack of light you can see the Hope.  You can find Joy.  Joy and Hope can only come from one thing: Love.

In those moments and in the last few days I have clung to those thoughts…I put my hand into my Loves and we tangle our fingers together.  We have created a life  and love so strong together that brings every fierce emotion to the surface — I will protect it with my life.  Because while fate is one thing, Faith is something I understand.

I have faith in Miracles.  I have faith in Healing.  I have faith in Forgiveness.  And as I prepare for Christmas, and talk to my children I talk about the miracle’s that happen in those dark moments.  Preparing is about being present in your own life, sometimes that means stopping everything.  Sometimes that means slowing down.  Sometimes that means keeping it real.

Because sometimes the smallest lights are so much brighter than the ones that flash at us.  Sometimes in the quiet we can remember how truly blessed we are.

I believe in Miracles. I believe in Babies.

I believe that anything is possible.

“Mary said, Be it done to me, according to your Word.” Luke 1:38

I believe in Love that lives among us; The Light of the World.