PUSHING UP DAISIES: Christmas 2020

by Tracy Renee Lee
PUSHING UP DAISIES: Christmas 2020

My husband and I usually spend Christmas with at least one of our three girls. This Christmas, however, would be different than any other before. Christmas 2020 would be spent with my husband’s brother who resides on the east coast and is very ill.

Each of our girls lives very far from home, so when circumstances changed on the night before we were to embark on our holiday travel plans, it was too late to be able to restructure our holiday season to see them. Such disappointment weighed very heavily upon my soul and for me, Christmas was ruined.

I tried to understand, but as the days faded away, I found that my emotions went from anger to sorrow. By the time Christmas Eve came, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

I had tried all of the airlines, hotels, cabins, resorts, etc., and the only thing for my husband and me to do was to just stay home by ourselves. It seemed to me that 2020 was going to remain as it had throughout the entire sorry year; one full of disappointments, deaths, and sorrows.

Isn’t it amazing though, how just when we think all is lost, God throws out a lifeline to save us from drowning in our own minds of confusion and sorrow?

On the morning of December 23, 2020, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for the day. We decided to just go into town because I wanted to purchase a chain for a pendant I have, and staying home would not do either of us any good. We decided that we would have lunch while we were there.

We drove to town, and after we ate we went to one of my favorite shops. While I was looking at the jewelry counter, my husband found some beautiful new chairs for the home that we are remodeling. As I went to find the furniture salesperson, a masked woman said hello to me, by name, and said how funny it was that now of days we don’t even recognize each other. I agreed with her and went on about my business.

As I was standing in the checkout line, the same woman walked past me, and I realized that she seemed more familiar to me than I had at first realized. In fact, she was my cousin; a very dear cousin, actually. I felt terrible that I had merely agreed with her and went on without realizing that she was someone that I love very dearly, so I quickly got out of line and went over to speak with her.

I asked her how she was doing and she said that she was feeling much better. I had heard from another cousin, that this cousin had recently suffered COVID. She informed me that her husband also had COVID, but that he was not bouncing back quite as well as she was. In fact, she said that he was severely ill and that the doctors were running additional tests to try to discover what could be done for him.

Her news cut me to my core. Here I was, feeling so sorry for myself when others were suffering life-threatening illness. We talked for a while, then I paid for my purchases and left.

As my husband and I traveled back to the city in which we live, I thought about his brother. I realized how shallow I had been to become angry that my plans had been interrupted and that I blamed him that I was being deprived of time with my children. My husband’s brother is fighting a life-threatening illness and has very recently lost his wife and mother through illnesses. He doesn’t enjoy the blessings of children and grandchildren as my husband and I do, and I realized the contrast of the blessings in my life compared with what he is suffering. I grew disappointed with myself.

As I was chastising myself, my phone rang and a dear friend was calling. I answered the phone. She said that she had heard that my husband and I would be all alone this year, so she wanted to let us know that she and her dear mother would be bringing us Christmas dinner.

My friend is a nurse and knows that my husband and I are keeping away from our friends because we are exposed daily to germs and illnesses that we do not want to pass along to others. She also knows that we live in our funeral home without a proper kitchen and that until the little house next door is completely renovated, we cannot even cook ourselves a meal. Again, I was keenly aware of my self-pity for being concerned about my own holiday travels rather than realizing the blessings in my life.

On Christmas My friend came by earlier and brought over an amazing feast for my husband and I. She dropped it off piping hot, delicious, and prepared with love. She even brought over Christmas china for us to use. I face timed each of my girls and my grandchildren this morning, and I reveled in the love that abounds in my life.

As I celebrated the birth of my Savior with my husband, my children and grandchildren from afar, and my dear friends in town from a safe distance, I realize that my Christmas wasn’t ruined at all. It was merely fine-tuned so that I could see the blessings and the richness of my life, rather than the sorrows and heartaches that have engulfed the world this year.

I have seen, as I have seen so often in life, that joy sometimes requires an adjustment of oneself. I allowed my attitude to overcast my gratitude, and the result was misdirected vision. I focused on the things that brought me sorrow and confusion rather than joy and love. My unhappiness was brought on through self-pity and selfishness.

I am thankful that my attitude was gently and lovingly redirected before Christmas so that I could focus on the meaning of this time of year; Christ’s mission. I am grateful for the blessings given, and freely distributed, to all of God’s children through the birth of the Christ child and his enlightenment of goodness and love. Moreover, I pray for healing upon all those who suffer physical ailments and mental anguish, and I pray that Christ will continue to bless the world with his spirit of forgiveness, his perfect example of love, and his never-ending endurance for those of us who need gentle redirection.

I am grateful for my family, my friends, my life, and for each one of you who publish and read my articles. To those of you who write to me about your life’s experiences, both joyful and painful, I am mindful of you, and I pray for you. I pray that you will enjoy the blessings of the Savior in your lives, that you will have his constant companionship and protection, and that your days will be glorified through good works and deeds.

May God bless and keep you through this and many more years to come.