I am not sure when a child begins to become less of a child to their parent and more of a protector. I've never NOT needed my mom. She is the voice of reason when anxiety personifies into a cloaked lurker prepared to shed the meager ounces of security I possess. She is willing to run to the grocery story when I'm out of coffee creamer and can't make it there myself. She has always been my protector. If my mom is near, if I can smell her gardenia perfume or hear the squeal of her giggle, something within me mends.
But lately I find myself stepping into a role I'm not entirely familiar with. My mom is strong. She isn't afraid to use her voice and she never loses her cool. So when my propensity is to scream until I'm hoarse in anger or heartbreak, she has the ability to pull someone near and very calmly say what's needed without ever getting red in the face. Recently someone hurt my mom. Someone who has relied on my mom's selflessness and kindness, someone who has been capable of doing things themselves, but instead asked a woman who already caters to far too many people, myself included.
Someone hurt her and it broke something inside her - I witnessed it with my own eyes. And as something broke within the woman who has always picked up my broken pieces, I realized I was done.
I do not understand unkindness. I do not understand a lack of empathy, the void of sympathy. I am not familiar with blinding selfishness - to the point of being incapable of understanding other people are walking through fires.
I do not understand.
This time of year really is my favorite. I love Christmas. For the magic of a newborn Savior. For the twinkle lights and the smell of a fresh evergreen. For the gathering that happens within warm homes. I love this season.
But my heart feels so heavy these days.
My Bible sits next to me now - and I can feel its pull. I need to open it. To read through devotions in this season of Advent - to understand the all-consuming grace that comes with a King taking the form of a human. I need to be consumed by this story, this grace.
But something rages within me.
I don't often feel bitterness. Sadness and I are regular dance partners. And anxiety lives beneath my collar bone - it nestles in between the discs of my spine and keeps my back rigid. But bitterness isn't a flavor I am acquired to.
I can't brush my teeth enough to rid this bitterness circling my taste buds. I don't like the residue it leaves in the back of my throat.
I don't know that there's an uplifting message to be found at the conclusion of this, friends. I believe in vulnerability and raw emotion - it's become the binding of my story. And in that belief, I think sometimes you just have to say the ugly things so they no longer reside within you.
Sometimes, in the middle of a season you've long held wonder for, you're reminded this world, and the people breathing within it, are broken. So there will be people who cut deep with their words. Your heart will break because you finally realize the one you always hoped would eventually be what you wanted and needed them to be just isn't capable. Some people just aren't capable.
In the weeks before your favorite holiday, before the Christmas tree is up at your house, you'll understand joy and heartache can, and will, coexist in a heart. You're living it out just now as you type this and bite your lip to keep the tears in.
At some point, in the middle of a rain drenched day that soaks cold to the marrow of your bones, you'll realize the only healthy option for your story is to protect the woman who has always stood in front of you and to let go of a relationship you never had to begin with.
Sometimes, when you've always pushed through, forgotten how you've been hurt, and continue to hope something will change, you have to settle for walking away.
This is heavy and cryptic. Forgive me for the darkness. But I would vulnerably ask for prayer, if you are reading this. This heart needs prayer. Know I am thankful for you. So very thankful.