Saturday, December 7

This Time of Year

People keep warning me about getting distraught with grief over the holidays.  But with this, I'm doing okay.  Possibly I'm becoming more stoic again?  Or possibly not, as you'll see below.  Possibly because for Ben and I, every Christmas was different?  It's not like I'm missing out on our traditions this year, and in fact, I'm continuing a tradition of different-ness.

There was the year we ate Christmas dinner at a Texas farmhouse with the family of Ben's nurse

There was our first Christmas together and with each other's families, which was also the year that we started the first Tween party

There was the year that the we lost power in our condo for nine days, then woke up Christmas morning to find out that the lights were back on.  A Christmas miracle :)

There was the year we flew to Seattle, but the plane couldn't land because of the snow.  It returned to Denver, so we spent our first Christmas away from our families.  Initially, I was desolate!  But then we bought a pine-scented candle, and some OCI families invited us to their family celebrations, and it was nice.

Some years we decided to travel instead of exchanging gifts.  Last year Ben got me 12 presents to open on the 12 days before Christmas, which he knew I would totally enjoy even though a couple of them were things like replacement baking sheets.

When I start to think about what has changed since last year, the emotions do come.

Last year this time, we were feeling low after bad news from the doctor.  Then some friends held a prayer evening for us and suddenly there was hope and light!  The difference in our spirits as we remembered that God has the power and desire to restore us and make us complete, useful and like Him!  I could see the desire to live with purpose again in Ben.  Oh how I long to see him restored completely, and beyond!

The month was punctuated by an abrupt hospitalization, followed by an arduous but successful drive to Colorado to spend Christmas with Ben's family.  I can't express how thankful I am that we were all able to be together last year.  It was bittersweet, but so fitting.

Then in January we drove to New Orleans to be prayed over by a specific man, and the next week there was dramatic shrinkage in Ben's tumors like we had never seen before!  Amazing!  I don't think I'll ever understand how this functions in Ben's story.  A demonstration of God's power, but why then?  And why to such an obvious extent, but no further?

While talking about Ben, a friend in Texas said "Ben was totally unique.  You'll never find anyone else like him."  Of course, I started crying, because it was wonderful to have had Ben for years, and now I know what I'm missing.  Again, bittersweet.

I have hope that Ben's death at a young age will be like his cancer.  We will never be glad of it, but perhaps it will set some of us on a new course.  Ben certainly saw and furthered some of the ways that God had a plan for his cancer.  That's probably both a blessing, and a result of some seeking.


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