Christmas adds burden, Christ relieves them

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It’s as I am taking her clothes out of the dryer that it hits me. How sad it still is.

It’s been a year since Elaine‘s Mom went into Assisted Living. She still comes to visit through her clothes which I lift out of the dryer one after another along with my thoughts. I see her name, Joyce, printed on the inside of the neckline. That’s what you do once you go there. Things sometimes get lost. Clothes get mixed up like the identities, the individuals that reside there.

Will there be a time when I have my name written on my clothes? That’s a tough question that I would rather not answer.

I hope Jesus comes first.

Her Granddaughter offered to decorate her room for Christmas and she said, “I don’t believe in Christmas.” The Granddaughter recoiled……both shocked and saddened. E. was not surprised. The question remains: When do you stop trying to bring color into someone’s world when gray is where they are most comfortable? Celebrations and decorations make her ill at ease, she asks things like, “Who put those there?”

But bringing color is what we try to do because we think it will help.

Yet sometimes the best kind of helping means we meet them in their world, where they live.

I have just been writing a memory for my Dad and it makes me feel like the keeper of the flame, because keeping those memories alive for another is to stand in a place of honor. The thought flows through my mind like a ghost……..how would it be to have your memory wiped clean? No memory of last year, or even 10 minutes before?

As I lift the clothes out, I remember how hard it was when she was here. So hard. And she is happier there. Her version of happy anyway. So E. continues to meet her in her world. She brings her Snickers because she likes those more than anything. She does what needs doing and she brings hope to the nurses and residents there.

You might think there is not much hope residing there, but hope sometimes comes when and where you least expect it. As E. stopped to talk to the lady who knits, she noticed lots of hats. The lady said, “I am knitting these for the kids…..the kids who have cancer. Is there any way you could see that they get there? To the sick children?”

E. said, her mind racing about when but knowing somehow she would find a way. “Yes, I will make sure they get there. And I will see if I can get a picture to bring back.”

Her face lit up. She is one who wants to bring color to others. Even though she can’t take them herself. Even there she carries hope.

Today, as I rush around and feel the stress of Christmas I remember that though Christmas and all that comes with the celebration of it might carry a weight, it’s only one I put on myself. For Christ never adds a burden, He only relieves it.

I suddenly remember why it is I am doing all this. I turn off the Christmas songs and turn up the praise songs. And I kneel on the dirty floor I still haven’t cleaned. And suddenly I am very happy I am making these cookies. I watch as they puff up in the oven. The stars, the angels, the bells, and the boot. I think of how Lauryn and I will decorate them when I see her. I smile.

I may or may not get to the floor. But somehow it no longer matters.

9 thoughts on “Christmas adds burden, Christ relieves them

  1. I can really relate to this, Lori. Remembering back to a little over 13 years ago when my mom was in a nursing home (assisted living wasn’t big around here yet). It’s hard, trying to meet them in their world. And funny…some friends and I were just discussing what will happen when it’s our time (and with Alzheimer’s AND dementia on both sides of my family, it’s pretty much a given it’s waiting down the road for me), and wondering what it’s like to not recognize your family, your friends…and even yourself.

    I love how your posts are so REAL, and always display hope, always point to Jesus. ‘For Christ never adds a burden, He only relieves it.’ YES! I’m so grateful for that. Thanks, Lori.

    • Pam….thank you faithful friend. I guess we all have to meet each other where we are and maybe that is a lesson I can learn from visiting Elaine’s Mom. I don’t like going, but I think it’s important. It’s so easy to forget about them, a world away sometimes it seems like. But there but for the grace of God go any of us! Lori

  2. Lori, thank you for sharing this story. We are trying to sprinkle color into the world of my hubby’s godmother — she is not a Christ follower. This post truly ministered to me right where I am at today. I will keep coloring faithfully this week thanks to this little nudge from you and the Holy Spirit.

  3. How sweet this is — a testimony to what love is — as defined by HIM. Wherever He needs us to love, we need to love — and HE will give us strength to do it wherever that is….

    I have missed visiting here and getting my dose of Lori. I keep thinking I can reverse my time eaters and be a better reader of blogs, but somehow my free time for reading has left. I hope to return to a more regular schedule. Bless you. Have a precious holiday — and keep blogging. 🙂

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