There is no image to capture this moment, because nobody captures the real life moments where things are not lovely and life is not pretty. But leave it to me to believe we should talk about them anyways. Because this stuff, this is the real life stuff that connects us all together.
It was three days after Christmas and three days until New Year’s Day 2017 and Anthony and I were in the car traveling to our third family Christmas gathering of the week. It was supposed to be a happy time yet here I was sitting next to my husband with arms crossed, fuming. Any and everything he said only further irritated my already offended spirit.
Honestly, our happy holiday spirit had turned into the car-ride straight from hell.
“Turn the car around and take me home! I just want to go home.” Everything in me wanted to see the faces of family that I love yet nothing in me wanted to face them like I was.
I mean, what if they actually saw that I can be a hot mess sometimes?
As I sat there looking out my window I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to pretend? Pretend to be fine when we are anything BUT fine? Like, why isn’t it more socially acceptable to be human in front of one another rather than keeping up rediculous appearances?”
As we rode along in silence, try as I might to hold them back so they wouldn’t spoil my mascara, tears spilled from my eyes faster than I could wipe them away and I felt more weary inside than I could remember feeling in a long time.
“Oh this is just great” I thought.
We hadn’t seen most of his family in a year or more and here I am, showing up looking like some sort of deranged, hot mess psychotic.
I don’t believe in spilling out every negative feeling or troubles on the world, but man, I didn’t want to pretend. I couldn’t. Make others believe that our lives are free from weary days, and marital fights, and you know…the regular hard stuff of life.
About ten miles before we arrived, he laid his hand on mine. Nothing resolved between us, still worn and weary; but I knew.
“I’m still with you.”
His gesture was his unspoken reminder that even in the midst of my hot mess breakdown, he was there.
We walked in that beautiful old farmhouse to scores of faces we loved.
Tear streaked face and all, I smiled and hugged their necks and when they asked how I was I replied through a crooked smile,
“Well! We fought and I cried the whole way here!”
Because anything else would have been less than the truth. And these days I find that I would rather be a friend to few by being authentically me, than to be adored by many for having it all together and being perfect, someone other than who I really am.
I can do this because I am convinced that even on our worst days when we can’t muster up the strength to give the world our best face, and we fall flat on our face and our mascara is streaked down our face, there is grace that covers us over and says, “You don’t have to try so hard. Come and rest in my grace.”
And so, this week following New Years for me has been a week of rest, of anchoring and centering myself again, and resting in the One who holds me together when I have fallen apart.
Turns out, I just needed a quiet room and 14 hours straight of sleep.