I don’t want to brag, but I used to be quite the impersonator. My flawless portrayals of Elvis Presley and Steve Urkel were highly requested by family members. At the drop of a hat, I would snarl my lip, shake my hips, or hike up my pants to the amusement of all those around. Let me point out I was probably 5 or 6, so I’ll admit some of it might have just been pity laughter at my adorable attempts, but I reveled in it. I learned at a young age that making people laugh was the best thing in the world. That revelation has led to years of ridiculous Halloween costumes, silly performances, and a constant search for a good joke to lighten any room.
Ironically, the one person I would not do my impressions for was possibly the one person who enjoyed them the most, my aunt. For some reason, I was afraid of my aunt when I was little. When she came into a room I would hide under tables. If she was around I changed from the non-stop talker to a shy mute cowering behind my mom’s legs. I don’t know why I reacted that way toward her because even then I idolized her and thought she was one of the most elegant ladies I had ever seen. I have been told when I was a baby my aunt thought it was hilarious to pretend to cry causing me to cry, so maybe my fear stemmed from those experiences. That said, she used to beg me to do my impressions. Everyone else would encourage me to do it for her. Yet no amount of bribing would get me to open my mouth and cut loose in front of her.
I wonder if I was afraid she would make me cry again. I obviously don’t have any memories of her making me cry, but I think somewhere in my subconscious I associated her with sadness or fear or intimidation. Thankfully I grew out of my aversion to her, however, I was always just a little shy or reverent when it came to talking to her.
As I have written before, I hate awkward/sad/uncomfortable moments and am usually the person cracking jokes in an attempt to break the ice or lighten the mood. The more serious the situation, the more desperate I become at finding something to laugh at and make others laugh too. Laughter is one of my ways of masking my true feelings. It’s hard to shed tears and show your true hurts when you are telling jokes. I have been laughing a lot the past few months.
The problem is, for me, laughter and my other diversion tactics (see: My Confession) allow me to hide from the reality of things that are happening. Lately, I have been in major avoidance mode. I change the channel on the radio because a song holds too many memories. I avoid emotional TV shows because I don’t want to allow my own emotions the chance to come out. I turn away from God because accepting His love and comfort means working through the pain and hurt I don’t want to deal with. Like I used to do with my aunt, I have been hiding from the things that might make me cry. One of those things is writing this blog.
I didn’t do well in keeping up with posting for most of the last year. There were about 3 months of regular posts, but then I let life get in the way. As the 1 year anniversary of starting this blogged grew closer, I planned on doing something like a review of the past year. I wanted to brag about all the great things I had done and how much I had grown in my relationship with God. As that date grew closer though, the reality of the last few months began to set in.
Not only did the 1st anniversary of this blog coincide with the 17th anniversary of my dad’s death, something I did intentionally last year (see: Busted Mustard Seed), it was also Thanksgiving day. The first Thanksgiving day without my aunt and uncle. The first Thanksgiving day in many years my family didn’t gather at their house to celebrate the holiday. A few days before we had a family gathering, but it just wasn’t the same. I saw their headstone that week. Everything I had been able to pretend was a bad dream became a harsh truth I couldn’t ignore anymore.
Some of the stuff I thought I had dealt with came rushing back. Some of the peace I had about things seemed to slip away. Old wounds from years past began to reopen. Instead of dealing with all that though, I just ignored it some more and retreated into my usual hiding places. I get distant from those I should be holding close. When I do have to face the world, I slip into my carefully controlled mask that perfectly hides my emotions. I turn into the happy-go-lucky cut up everyone expects me to be. At this point, it is an automatic response I have no control over.
So, what is the point? Why am I once again talking about sad and depressing things? My goal for this blog has always been to honestly share my experiences and how they affect my spiritual growth. I also believe that in being transparent with the things I am going through, I might be able to help someone else. So with that in mind, and true to my early Elvis roots, I am having a blue Christmas this year. I wrote a post last year about how going home for Christmas to me means living in memories of Christmases past (see: Home for Christmas) and this year that statement is even more true. Once again, our holiday traditions are changing. I am sad. There are two more people who are deeply missed this time of year. I will be so blue just thinking about them.
Now that I have been a total downer, let me also say I have continued to see God moving in these tough times. This past year I joined a church, began hosting a small group in my house, and joined a bible study group. All of those steps have helped me to grow spiritually in so many ways. Had it not been for the work I have done on my faith and relationship with God this year, I don’t know how I would have overcome the last few months. God has constantly provided me with sermons, scriptures, songs, signs, and so much more as reminders of the hope that can be found in Him. Even when I am trying to hide from it all, He finds a way to show me He is with me through everything and simply waiting on me to just be held by Him.
Moving forward, I am hoping to do better about writing blog posts. They are painful at times, but they are a great way for me to get out some of the stuff I have been holding inside for far too long. I’ve got some serious work to do in dealing with my hurts and continuing to grow in my faith. This blog is going to be a part of that process. I will continue to ask God to give me the words to write and before I hit submit I pray God allows it to reach whoever might need it. I’m thankful for those who have been reading my posts and I hope you will continue on this journey with me. Merry Christmas.