Return to Sender


This blog post comes to you from somewhere between a rock and a really, really hard place. The time is the eleventh hour for the USPS Christmas card mailing deadline. Last night, our family worked together to make our cards to mail. Today we were going to take a picture of the girls for the letter, finish assembling the cards, and address the envelopes.

They will not be going in the mail.

Imagine. It was a picture perfect image– each of us doing a particular task to make the project all inclusive, our dog lays peacefully by the fire, and John Lennon’s birthday celebration is on television. Imagine.

Imagine living life in peace and harmony.
No heaven. No hell.
Nothing to live or die for.
No borders. No possessions.

These are the lyrics to John Lennon’s famous song. As picture perfect as the scene in our living room appeared to be, the truth is, this scene was quite superficial. As empty and cynical as the lyric.

Near the close of each year, God puts a single word on my heart for meditation. This is the theme for the year to write about in our holiday letter. This past year, the word was LOVE. He literally took me to several corners of the world to learn what His love is about. But right in the comfort of my living room, I feel the love is superficial and far from what I learned as I got closer to Him.

The letter was written– not the form letter to update our friends and loved ones about our family. No, that letter needed to be composed but I couldn’t find the words. For years I have paraphrased the activities and milestones of our life into a photocopied letter. The letter weaves the theme for the year into our lives while providing encouragement and insight. It’s all from my perspective though. This is a family letter and I just didn’t feel right writing on behalf of my family.

I’ve been writing more actively this year, learning as I go. This blog started from those letters many years ago. Friends found them inspiring and wanted to read more. I’m still learning the ropes. There are so many articles on my heart and mind waiting for the right time to come to fruition.

I have a hard time writing without transparency. I couldn’t bring myself to write about love without being truthful. I couldn’t throw away the experiences of the past year by sending out a superficial message.

Almost two years ago, our daughter fell in love for the first time. We knew there were risks and it was too soon but… we weighed the risk and allowed the relationship. In teaching her about love, it exposed many painful experiences I had stuffed away. Pouring all my effort into teaching the kids about biblical love left me exposed and unprepared. Through their experience, I had to return to my faith to start the lessons over again. I could be accused of living vicariously though my child and I can see how this perception looks obvious. Unless you were really close to me, you wouldn’t know the reality I was experiencing. I wasn’t just cutting heartstrings to my daughter, I was being broken and reshaped in my relationship with God. Returned to my sender.

To be continued…

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