Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Eeyore State of Mind

People sometimes think that I exaggerate events in my life. I will admit that every now and then, for purely comedic purposes, I do extend the truth. However, for the most part my accounts are accurate.  I've had friends say, "I thought you were making this stuff up, but after sitting in your living room for 2 hours I see that you're not!"  So, here goes another.

The Shepherd family Christmas started off looking a lot like the Griswald Christmas, and I'm not kidding. We found out two weeks ago that we were moving to the other side of town, which is wonderful news. But this exciting news also meant that we would be packing and moving over Christmas. The first week started off in full swing - lots of purging, a little packing, a whole lot of energy. The second week was a little more intense but still productive. I did have to use my growling voice a couple of times but we pretty much made the goal I had set, which was packing everything but the kitchen. The Christmas tree came down on the 21.

Packing a minivan with 6 people and two dogs is never easy, and stressful circumstances make it all the more difficult. Needless to say by the time each of us were in our assigned seats - and we do give assigned seats - I wasn't the only one in tears. As Lee finally put the keys into the ignition I felt my body relax with thoughts of home.

That's when the 'CHECK TRANSMISSION' light came on.

I am not one to be deterred and decided we would take the car to my parents mechanic when we got to Kentucky.

While riding in the car, listening to Christmas carols and the children munching on goldfish, I let myself give in to really gloomy thoughts.  I hadn't finished Christmas shopping, I didn't get the new house painted, I never sent out Christmas cards, some family relationships were still difficult (and probably always going to be), I had to pack dirty laundry for the boys and myself, and I just thought that I was a disappointment to the world, or at least to myself.

We pulled into my parents driveway - the driveway that was mine from the time I was 5 til I was 22 - and as we unpacked the van I realized that we were one short. The suitcase that held my sons' dirty clothes was left behind, which meant that they had nothing but the shirts on their backs. I was worn out and weary and pretty sure that a good night's sleep was not the cure for this ill.

I was snappy and short with everyone in the house and went to bed sad. Dad and I took the car in to the mechanic early the next morning. After some tinkering with the van, a couple of phone calls, and a drive around the block the news wasn't great, but not the worst.

The news of my van didn't shock me - each of the three times that we have moved our vehicle has had something very major go wrong with it. I even told Lee when he was informed that he would indeed be pastoring two new churches that we should just plan on the car breaking down.  However, the news of my van did shake me up. I was teary most of the day and just felt that everything seemed unfair. Why couldn't something just good happen - why did it always have to come with something crummy? Woe is me. Life is hard.

Later that night I read this blog post by Ann VosKamp, and then this one from a friend in blogland who lost a dear son 3 months ago in the blink of an eye. 

With sudden clarity I realized that I had forgotten something big. I had allowed my few problems to overshadow my numerous blessings. I forgot that I ALWAYS bring dirty laundry to my mother's house, that I never send out Christmas cards on time, that my shopping is always last minute, that I have a house to paint, and that, while I may disappoint, my Jesus never does. I forgot that my father has survived cancer, that our four children are the funniest, kindest, most beautiful people I've ever met, that my mother's cooking fixes everything, that Lee's granny has the best hugs ever, and that feeling sorry for myself won't get me anywhere.

I forgot that when things don't look great from where I stand  I can climb into my heavenly Father's lap and gain a different perspective.

So, this year the gift of my Savior has reminded me that Christmas is a state of mind.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas!


  1. and kiley and I will continue our tradition of going to a midnight candlelight christmas eve service together and I'm taking her to the church kara and I got married in so it will be a pretty special night !!! it's all about the small christmas miricles (:

  2. Kara,

    You make me both laugh and cry, I have spent today in an Eeyore state of mind and you make me glad to know you.