It's been a week of doing. A week of putting one foot in front of the other, breathing one breath at time deep into friable lungs, trusting God for each moment of consciousness and praising Him at the end of each day for each completed task. A week in which I survived Thanksgiving without having to take a nap. Managed to go to the tree farm per family tradition and decorate the house with my kids without missing (hardly) a beat. A week in which I resumed work, bruises and pain and all, delivered lectures, and looked deep into students eyes, and captured teachable moments and felt my calling coursing through my veins instead of death.
It's also been a week of long naps, early bedtimes, and hitting the snooze button - something I never do. It's been a week of slugging down coffee, putting on a little more make-up than usual, and swallowing tears as I push through pain to get things done.
There's a sticker on my computer that says, "Just become like a child that discovers the beauty of the world every moment again and again." And so I do. On my way to work, I drink orange juice, life blood from a fruit that doesn't grow in Wisconsin winters, and I taste life sweet and tangy straight from some Florida farmer's labor. My husband makes scalloped potatoes for dinner, and I can almost taste the potassium flooding into my veins and giving me just enough energy to sing Christmas carols to my children as they drift off to sleep.
I talk to colleagues about my experience, and their eyes are wide as saucers, and we talk about what it's like to be a professor in the bed. To become a patient instead of a teacher. To taste all the things we lecture about so lassez faire. And there is nothing lassez faire THIS week when I teach my students how to suction secretions from a patient struggling to breathe, because last week that was me, and I know how it feels to choke and want to scream when you can't.
It's odd how life goes so quickly back to almost normal. How I stand in a field, tired and ill, and yet what I am thinking about is how amazing it is that my baby boy is yielding a yellow Swedish saw with his papa and cutting down our Christmas tree. How the hum of the tractors is just as homey as it always has been at the tree farm, for the 20 some years I've been coming here. It's life. It's beautiful. It's no different than it was 2 weeks ago.
It's this amnesia, I think, that makes us human. Christ didn't have it. He had eternity always in mind. I forget. Eternity gets lost in the details almost as soon as I've returned to the mortal world. Every now and then, I remember. But it's not my every thought, it doesn't control every action of every day. I strive to be like Him, but I am not. I am just like everyone else. Caught up in the flurry of work before winter break, scurrying toward Christmas. Making my lists and checking them twice, planning my shopping, budgeting, trying to budget energy too.
Oh, that heaven were always foremost in my mind. Oh, that I would never lose the perspective I gained in those 40 minutes of clarification, crystallization of what I am here to do, what I am meant to do, what I am meant for.
I long for heaven. When at last I will never forget. Make me better at this, Lord. Help me remember, now more than ever - this Christmas, more than last, and every Christmas, more than the last.