The last few days have had their ups and downs. First, the ups. Christmas Eve was divine. We started, as is our tradition, by listening to Lessons and Carols from King's College in Cambridge. Then Phillip took Evan out for some last minute Christmas shopping and I ran out for a last minute grocery item: collard greens, which I had forgotten to pick up on any of my excursions several days prior. Can you believe Jewel was out of collard greens? What's up with that? I didn't think stores in Illinois ever ran out of collard greens! Luckily, Meijer had one bag left. One. Again, I ask, when did collard greens become so popular in the Chicago burbs?
Our church has three services on Christmas Eve but for the first time in more years than I can remember my husband did not have to be at all of them. We left the house as a family at 5:15 (the first service started at 5:00) and drove together to Christmas Eve worship (can't remember the last time that happened either). We attended the 7:00 service (the one which included the three preceding musical selections) and then between services enjoyed a Christmas picnic in the church kitchen.
The last service of the night started at 10:00. As much as I like being at church at midnight on Christmas Eve, I appreciated being able to get home by just a little after midnight. Between 9-year-old and puppy and Santa I still didn't get to sleep until almost 2:00 a.m. The next morning Evan and I stayed home and I cooked and he played while Phillip and the big kids went to Christmas morning worship (10:00 a.m.). When they arrived home I had fresh bread, cheese, "Little Smokies" (miniature sausages in BBQ sauce) and wassail (with rum) ready to snack on. We opened presents, took naps, and began watching the DVD of Trevor's University choir concert from a few weeks ago (on which he also did a lot of organ playing). The plan was to follow up with supper (ham, cole slaw with pineapple, black-eyed peas, and yes, collard greens!) and then watch the Bulls-Rockets basketball game.
But then life took a turn. As we were watching the choir concert we heard my mom calling, distressed, from the bathroom. When we ran to investigate we discovered her on the floor. After making sure she was breathing and not bleeding (she was alert and communicative) we got her up off the floor. She was not able, however, to stand up. We called 911, an ambulance came, and long story short, Mom has a broken hip. :-( We are not sure what happened except that she must have fainted. She doesn't remember the fall, only waking up. As I write this I am sitting in her hospital room. Tonight she will have surgery to repair her hip and then we face another cycle of recovery and rehabilitation (she had her other hip replaced 7 or 8 years ago). Tonight's surgery will not be a full hip replacement but (as I understand it) the placing of screws to reconnect the hip. This fracture seems to be not as severe as the last one and the lesser surgery will also minimize risks: smaller incision, less blood loss, less time under general anesthesia, etc. Mom's heart checked out fine today and the prognosis for recovery is excellent. Your prayers are appreciated.
Last night as we sat in the ER I began reading one of my Christmas presents, a book from my husband by Andree Seu, one of my favorite columnists for World magazine. The book is the first of several published collections of Seu's columns. I am not sure what denomination Seu is but she sure sounds Lutheran a lot of the time. The first chapter of the book is the first column she wrote upon returning to writing after the death of her first husband some years ago. She writes of the struggles one would expect at such a time--how to continue without one's long-time help-meet? How to do what needs to be done? She recalls her pastor's counsel:
"Rev. Min says when I feel myself sinking I must start from the beginning: What is true? What is real? God is alive. I am His daughter. You His true Son."
It was exactly what I needed to read last night and I hope maybe it is exactly what someone out there needs to read right now. Merry Christmas!