Christmas season was in the air. It was 1988 and I was so nervous about my college finals (Algebra–need I say more?). “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama could be heard humming from the tape player of the ’81 Ford Granada as I tootled (a Grandma Ava word) carefully towards Southwest Missouri State University on snow-covered roads. Finals were waiting for me. This was before the days of online classes–a day’s drive, parking, walking, and taking the tests ate up most of the day. Speaking of ate up…I remember being hungry. Seeing the golden arches was equivalent to receiving a trophy. Just the SMELL of the fries beckoned me. With a full tank, belly, and “Christmas Memories” chaperoning, a prominent peace paved my way. Each Christmas when my sons were little there was Christmas music and french fries. My parents still buy us all gift cards. There’s something about fries that equals comfort to me. Yes, I know they’re not good for me…but…
Cries and fries make sense to me! Perhaps that’s why I found myself going through a drive-through recently. The smell of fries, and the sound of “Tennessee Christmas” by Alabama ringing through my Bluetooth via Amazon Prime music, lured me to the Golden Arches. The salty tears and fries didn’t worsen the wounds. They helped me let them go.
Cries and fries. Why could I drive so many miles two weekends ago and today, barely go 10? Why didn’t I know about my cancer YEARS ago? Why do I hurt? Why am I fine for one hour and not the next? Does the pain mean it’s progressing? Why won’t it go away? Why won’t the doctor say more? What can I do to help others? What is my purpose? What were the warning signs? How can I operate in a fast-paced world while moving at a snail’s pace? What happens when I can’t stay ahead and be deliberate about plans? Why is my energy level low? How can I help others understand? Why do my bones ache? Haven’t I cried enough? Why is my french fry box empty? Why do I have salt on my face? I cried for my family. I cried in guilt that I may not be here to take care of those who love me. To help out when I’m needed. To give time, energy, and love. I’m in between seasons. Every day. I don’t understand why I haven’t been given the exact time I show up for radiation tomorrow. I need a 9-volt battery so the back bedroom smoke alarm won’t chirp. I need to call my home lenders to ensure my escrow is being used to pay my taxes on time (and not on someone else’s property like last year), I want to read what other bloggers are writing about. I want to be patient. I wanted to have my tree up early and Christmas gifts bought in case I feel worse. I want to hold my family tight, from little to old…and never let go. I want to be better than I was yesterday. I want to be there when my kids and grandkids need me. Want, want, want,…what do I need? Some days I just need to cry. The tears can turn to laughter as you lick off the salt. The goodness tastes “gooder” when it’s all finally out.
As we celebrate good finds, the lights, and the cheer let’s remember who loves us and let go of the fear. It’s ok to cry and let it all out, for life is full circle without any doubt. Be who you are, say how you feel,…but let go of the anger and just be real. Once you let down the wall and receive the light, you’ll realize you’re only human, none of us are right. Laugh when you can and take it day by day, forgive one another, and don’t forget to pray. HE hears you. HE sees you. HE knows just how you are. Remember that love is never too far.
Momma’s turkey and dressing, family (missing some I love so much), movies, and memories did nourish. Not a day goes by that I’m not smelling memories, tasting the goodness of grace, praying for those who have it much worse, and longing to have my love linger around all of those that I cherish the most.
P.S. I love fries