Scott’s working late. I thought I’d be in bed, reading, watching random videos on instagram with the sound on (he hates that) and pretending I don’t snore. But I’m here now, writing. It just happened.
The internet has been driving me crazy lately. Driving me away. In some ways, the whole world has. Matt Lauer? What’s next? Priests….oh wait.
I don’t want to go down that thought path though. It’s the holidays and I don’t want to think about the hard stuff, no one does, but maybe we end up thinking about it anyways? Maybe in some masochistic way that’s something we like about them. We rely on that girl from church who barely makes eye contact during The Sign of Peace to approach the microphone and belt out Silent Night so we can have the space to cry about our friend’s dad, taken too soon, too imperfectly and the fact that our two year old’s voice can only sound this way for so long. This, of all of the seasons, in the one where we allow ourselves to feel the most.
My in-laws have about a million snow globes and I thought, when I saw some of them stashed precariously in the garage rafters on Thanksgiving, how the snow globe is such a good symbol for this season. Aren’t we all looking to be a little bit confined and a little shook up at the same time?
It’s time to introduce Sprout to the idea of Santa and, therefore, Jesus. Like any good Catholic I am terrified. All of it seems too much. All of what I know is too little.
I haven’t been to church in a year. I went from casually talking to God every day to muttering his name in vein under my breath when I drop my car keys. Somehow I’m still mad Maddie got cancer even though she just passed another blood test. Just like they warn you when you’re little: believing is hard.
I picture this scene from my life cut and copied fresh from the Look Who’s Talking intro where I’m making my way National-Geographically through the birth canal into the world. I’m some combination of flesh and eyes and yuck. But what’s important about this abstract scene is that I somehow know that I was somewhere else first. I can feel the love and slight dread from the thing that let me go; of the someone who knew how broken the world I was heading to was and sent me anyways.
This is where my faith lies now, in some metaphorically mucky hallucination, but now that I’m a parent I’m starting to think I might be the best equipped I’ve ever been to understand and share The Christmas Story.
The other day I was sitting out in the surf, waiting for my wave. The one I knew was out there for me because I had just had a baby and barely had time to shave, let alone surf. Surely life knew this and set aside a perfect wave just for me. But instead I got dropped in on by some soggy haired hipster surfing with his hands hanging down. He cutback right in my face and I thought surely he would see the last three months of sleeplessness in my eyes and realize that the wave wasn’t meant for him. He sped ahead and then cutback again almost hitting me, then kicked out when the wave was over like he thought maybe someone on the beach was filming him for a movie called “Skinny Asshole”. I just called out “Thanks!” over the rush of water and wind and then reminded myself what I learned when Sprout was born about how God’s actual gift to us is this: a life that helps us feel uniquely broken enough to become strong. To fight hard for our own waves and then, because we are so familiar with the battle, to be compassionate enough to give them up for someone else too.
My friend Kirk has the oldest cracked wetsuit and the flakiest cracked skin. He’s surfed Waimea Bay at 20 feet. He’s surfed Pipeline with just his dad. He’s paddled out to put his father’s ashes right in the reef where we surf. He always gives me the good waves.