This time of year

Life is unpredictable. Though we try to make schedules, follow routines, plan and arrange our lives around holidays, work, or our kid’s school, let’s face it: We have NO CONTROL. That’s pretty much how my life has felt this year more than ever. I have felt an emotional tsunami. It’s un-arranged everything I thought I had in place. It’s flooded my senses, brought in doubt, sadness, and what feels like an un-fillable void. 

I used to not think about my dad every day, every hour. But now I do. How sad that he had to pass to be truly alive every instant of my life now. Whether I’m chopping onions, reading a book, or at the park with the kids. I hear him, I feel him, I remember the way he walked, how he folded his clothes, how he would have a comment about everything, the jokes he told, his scent, his hands, his hugs!

How I regret not calling him more, not going to see him more, not making him stay longer when he came from Spain to see us! My dad was an enormous influence my life. He just lived thousands of miles away and I only saw him once a year. Twice if we were lucky! But we talked weekly by Skype, and emailed a lot. I just knew he was there. How is it that somehow, we become comfortable with the idea that our loved ones are healthy and that we still have a long time with them? Now, people say “he’s always with you”, or “focus on the positive memories”, and I do, it’s just not enough. Experiencing the death of a parent forces one to analyze everything, explore why we do things, think about what we want to change, how we will keep their memory alive, and how we can possibly survive without ever hugging them again.

I used to spend a lot of Christmases with my dad when I was younger. Since my parents are divorced, I would go summer and Christmas to see my dad and stay about a month. It was always a special time. But he hadn’t come to Houston recently, and we hadn’t gone to Spain in quite a long time. He would spend it alone, or with his girlfriend, and it killed us that he would spend this time of year by himself. If we had known that last Christmas would be his last alive, what would we have done? How would we have adjusted our schedules to do everything in our will to be with him? Well, we can’t stay in that space of regret, so I choose joy, like the Christian radio station, KSBJ, reminds us!

Parties, shopping, festivities and so much more take up our time during this glorious month. But what are we really getting all worked up about? Put down the wine, turn off the music, and say no to an invitation, unless the reason you are celebrating is because JESUS IS COMING!! And he wants to be born inside of us,  in our work, our homes, through what we say, and what we do. He wants to fill that void that is left so wide and raw after a loved one dies. So are we prepared for him? 

Sometimes I tell my kids that Jesus could come tomorrow. “Would you be ready?” I ask them. They smile and say “YES, I want to go to heaven, but will you come too mama?”. I hope and pray I do, so I can hug my papi again and meet Jesus face to face. So today, on the feast Our Lady of Guadalupe, I ask for her intercession. She knows better than anyone what it’s like to wait for the coming of Jesus. She was thoroughly prepared. I pray that you and I can take a sliver of Mary’s determination and faith, to submit to God’s will. Have a holy Advent and REJOICE, Jesus is coming!

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