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“It is Thanksgiving at TSA,” a harried security employee quipped, as my line slowly moved through the body scanner at the airport. Her lined face aged as holiday-goers crept forward. Carry-ons through x-ray machine. Shoes off. “Sir, SIR, belt off. That’s right, Sir. You must take your belt off.” Arms up. Stand right there. Stand right here. Stand over there. Beep. Beep.

“You look like you need a good cup of coffee,” I replied, making small talk with the TSA lady. She reminded me of a grandmother who ought to be home baking cookies and basting turkeys, NOT eyeing suspicious passengers and rummaging through bulky bags.

“Thank you. That makes me feel better just thinking about. It is, after all, my break time,” she said with the look of a woman who knows that “break time” is a wishful dream this congested Tuesday.

The soldier in front of me laughed that he “might as well drop his pants” with all the metal insignia and accoutrements that he had to strip. At least he was going home. Beautiful word. Taste it. H-O-M-E. Lovely. He appeared to be in a hurry.

An hour to spare before my designated boarding time, I made a quick stop at the Caribou Coffee stand, choosing to splurge on a Black Thai Tea Latte with soy. Earthy creaminess passed my lips. Ahhh . . . what wonder. Even better, the festive cup provided me an endless amount of comfort, as well as a perfect photo shoot opportunity. My fellow passengers probably assumed that I was that annoying tourist who says “Cheese” by every city sign and ignored landmark. “Nope, I’m a Coloradan, just one intent on capturing snatches of happiness,” I thought.

“Make it Merry,” my cup proclaimed. “Friends gather. Lights twinkle. Your warm hats and cozy mittens come out of hibernation. We laugh, spread joy and give to others. We make it merry.”

We make it merry. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of cranberry sauce stirring and pumpkin pie baking, have you stopped and considered that we – individuals, families, me, you, us – we make it merry. Ignore the tinsel of money-hungry advertisers and store marketing directors. Hone in on the smile of a little one in an oversized cowboy hat, flying home to light up the faces of grandparents, aunts, uncles. Notice the coos of a baby dressed in brown and pink stripes and polka dots, reaching for the latch on an airplane tray table. Stare at the sun falling below the horizon line as plane takes flight. Revel in the longing of homesick men and women in uniform, aching to arrive at their destinations, hold their loved ones again.

“It’s been five to six months,” the young man in blue told me with yearning. Two seats away from my 14C, he cut a dashing figure, but a worn and weary one. He knows. It is time to go home and make merry.

How do you make merry? Has your year been worn by the wear and tear of tragedy and torn dreams? Have you gasped for air more often than you have surfaced to taste freedom above the drowning salt water waves? Have you stared at the twinkling stars in wonder or cursed the trodden ground below?

Heartache has been my story for far too long. And, it is not over. David and I had elected to not reserve a spot on the mission trip that he is currently leading because we thought that I would be pregnant. We dreamed. We planned. We giggled about baby names. I bought a Teddy Bear. Months and months of sickness, pain and emptiness mar the road between that decision and now. I’m still waiting, still hungry, still giving thanks. The Teddy Bear is still wrapped up with a bow. David is in Africa. I’m in the States.

Yet, today I’m giving thanks for infertility, for the burning that has seared my hopes and desires. I’m choosing to make merry. Would you dare to choose that lofty goal with me? Don’t fake it. Strip away the façade. I have. My blog posts don’t lie, don’t cover up the truth of barrenness still resonating.  Prepare to be humbled, but prepare for so much more.

Open your heart to grace and joy. Remember blessings and count them. One. By. One. Little ones. Big ones. Mundane ones. Glorious ones.

Soft light spilling over worn Bible

Friends that never let go

Body strong enough to sense exhaustion

Friend’s baby 10 weeks past conception with a pulsing heartbeat of 175 bpm

Winding back roads of North Carolina

Getting lost with a friend. Finding your way. Enjoying every minute of the maze.

Chick-fil-A Chicken Noodle Soup – A bowl of southern comfort

Old fashioned candy machine, brimming with multi-colored Jelly Belly’s

A classroom door with the verse: “Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:10

I’m surrounded by glee today. Fifteen fourth graders fill my friend’s North Carolina classroom, anxious for Thanksgiving Break, whispering, talking over one another. Shyly smiling at me. Handing me love notes. “Hi! Welcome to Miss V.’s class!” “Hope you have fun. P.S. You are soooooooooooooooo pretty.” “Have fun teaching today!” Crayola colors highlight flying pigs, flowers the size of trees, triangular suns, scribbled hearts on slips of paper handed to me. I’m undone. Overwhelmed. In love. Christmas music plays in the background, as pencils scrawl answers and my friend’s voice soothes rowdy ones. Tomorrow, I will be in Disney with my friend, experiencing the wonders of spinning teacup chairs for the first time in my life. Today, however, I am child. I am teacher. I am woman, broken but mending. Breaking all over again.

I’m reminded of a final parting of friends. A scene that should have been a festive holiday one, a solemn ceremony followed by time of rejoicing. The angel of death has passed over us again. Rejoice! Yet, pause now, the last supper is at hand. God-With-Us is about to become God-For-Us, God-In-Love-With-Us, God-Wounded, God-Dead, God-Risen, God-Interceding-For-Us. Peak into the room. Christ breaks the bread. Gives thanks. Pours wine. Blesses. Breaks Himself. Offers words of surrender. Pours His Life. Imparts grace.

I’m awash in that surrender, awash in that grace.

During this season, step out of the shadow of unfulfilled desires and walk into the realm of thanksgiving. Name what is, so that what is not may also come to pass. Tis the season of miracles. Tis the season of making merry.

It is, after all, Thanksgiving at TSA. I’ve got a picture book on pilgrims to read to wonder-filled, rowdy ones. I’ve also got a heart full of what is, what fills me, what drives me to lay my life down in daily surrender.

What fills you? Leave me a comment and a piece of your heart, if you dare to share with me a glimpse of your shadows giving way to twinkling lights. Remember to capture the moments of ache, the moments of tearing, the moments of making whole. Remember to make merry.

 

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