Tonight I attended church with my kiddos. It was a nice service, Christmas Eve after all, so familiar hymns, familiar readings. My kids were fairly tame, so I got to hear a decent part of the sermon. It was a message that I suppose I needed, but still somewhat painful.
I put it out of my mind, came home and got busy with our Christmas Eve "stuff." Baking cookies with the kids, watching Christmas movies, and then after the kids fell asleep in my bed, dragging all the presents out of hiding and filling the stockings. I snapped the train tracks together and got the batteries put in. Everything is ready for the morningtime. The kids will be happy and excited. Both of them really wanted one thing, and lucky for them, Santa pulled through. Their dad is coming over first thing in the morning so he can see them open up their gifts and bring his to add to the pile. I'm glad that we are at least far enough through the divorce process that we can do this together with our kids.
The sermon, and a movie I've watched several times this year, reminded me again that I must revisit the path I have chosen and perhaps make room in my heart and mind for a different path. When I approached the end of the my college years, I contemplated going to seminary. I felt some sort of tug in that direction. I'm not sure where I got derailed. But somehow I ended up in law school instead. Now here I am, more than 10 years later, with two children, a job I enjoy most days and a freshly failed marriage, and I'm left wondering what influences made me run all those years ago. Perhaps it was fear of losing my family entirely. I'm fairly sure they would not have been able to support my attendance at a seminary, particularly if I was considering ordination. I think perhaps some of it was the fear of the unknown. Some of it was fear of choosing a path that seemed crazy for a woman (to me at the time...particularly after 4 years at a conservative university). I think at least some of it had to do with the idea that I would be giving up my shot at a husband, kids, a stable life. Or maybe fear of not being good enough or smart enough or *enough* enough. I'm not sure. Somehow understanding why has become important to me now. It seems the place to start in figuring out where I go next.
Part of me still feels that tug. Even now, all these years later, I feel drawn to God, to the study of theology and to the church, for all its dysfunction. We all have our dysfunction I suppose. I'm not sure where that leaves me, or what it means for me next. And perhaps I'm ok with not having those answers today...or tomorrow...or this year or next. At least I'm asking the questions again.
The hope and promise of the Christ child has descended upon my life in a new and fresh way. Merry Christmas indeed.