Better Late Than Never: Advent Blog 2011

The 2nd Sunday of Advent has come and gone, the amaryllis’ that I wanted to plant by December 1st are still in their boxes, and last night we just didn’t have the energy to decorate the tree that Martin put up in the morning.  But! This morning in the shower, I decided that it was not too late to do another Advent blog.  I’ll explain how this came to be in a moment, but know that I’ll be doing my very best to post every day until Christmas, and I would love it, as always, if you were here.

not the amaryllis in my house

Part of the reason I didn’t think I could/should do an Advent blog was because I did a lot of irresponsible and hurtful things this year, and I sort of stopped trusting that I had anything worthwhile to say.  But I think that’s okay.  David Whyte talks a lot about the need to get really tired of yourself sometimes, and I definitely have.  But I love to blog, and I love all of you who read and share, so I’ve been praying about this whole question of how, why, if to write.

Then a week ago, I had this dream.  I don’t remember all the details, mostly just that it was frightening and filled with a violent conflict.  There was a lot of fighting, accusation and hurt, and a terrifying feeling of vulnerability.  But when I woke up, two statements were completely clear in my mind: “Love means being bigger than judgment,” and, quite simply, “Love wins.”

Last Friday, I attended a memorial service for the brother of one of my dearest friends.  He died far too young and completely unexpectedly.  The minister read from Ecclesiastes, and to be honest, it was hard to feel comforted, even though the loss was not my loss.  It felt like the minister was trying to explain something that there is no way to explain, to suggest that even if we didn’t understand, someone did, which is perhaps helpful; it wasn’t to me.  Then he repeated the well-known words from 1 Corinthians 13, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  And that meant something real.

It meant that love doesn’t mean freedom from pain or heartbreak, but that love is bigger than pain and heartbreak.  That love does not mean you don’t do terrible, hurtful things, but that love is the chance to move into a space where you can be bigger than any of those things.  Love holds us.  Love gives us a fighting chance to endure.  Maya Angelou said, “Love keeps the stars in the firmament,” it is a force that powerful.  I believe that it is also as gentle and present as the very air we breathe.  

So that is the theme of this Advent blog: “Love wins.”  In one of Jan Karon’s Mitford books she writes: “Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”  Let’s be together here for Advent, and hope that we all experience something bigger than pain, more expansive than judgment, more encompassing than anger, and more freeing than fear.

Here is the rest of the poem that the Maya Angelou line is taken from.  I hope you enjoy it.  I’ll see you tomorrow!

“Love builds up the broken wall

and straightens the crooked path.

love keeps the stars in the firmament

and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides

each of us is created of it

and i suspect

each of us was created for it.”

Maya Angelou

18 Comments

Filed under advent, love

18 responses to “Better Late Than Never: Advent Blog 2011

  1. Ruth Stoltzfus

    Leslie,
    As usual, wonderful writing and I’m glad you’re back!
    Happy Advent to you–I love purple!! and as for the amaryllis, they’re really meant for February when it’s darker and drearier out than it is now, so you’ve got lots of time to start watering it!!
    hugs to you,
    ruth

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    • LCS

      Oh thank goodness! I already feel less guilty…

      Thanks!
      🙂

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    • Sarah McEvoy

      Dear Leslie, I save all your writings, just in case. But I am so delighted that you chose to write this Advent. I tried to do all my shopping/shipping/purchasing (which I loath) before Advent started, so that I might pray, rest, bake, have time to serve others in need, etc. I came close, but a friend reminded me that ALL doing, then ALL resting might not be the way it happens. She asked if I might be able to rest in the doing and bring ease to the tasks and so I am trying. Thank you for sharing your frailty and vulnerability, as these are the pieces that most of us can understand. I tuck that common human experience that you share and store it in my heart. Again, thank you, Sarah

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      • LCS

        Sarah,

        What a lovely message–thank you! It actually gave an idea for another post, so an extra, extra thank you! I also tried to do all my holiday “stuff” before December 1st, but as you see here, it didn’t quite work out. But it’s all okay, for all of us!

        Leslie

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  2. Couldn’t be more thrilled that you’re blogging again! I’ve missed you!

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  3. LCS

    Thanks! I added a link to your new blog on the right sidebar! Loving it!

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  4. Ann

    I’m glad you’re back blogging, Leslie. Love is the whole deal, isn’t it? When I thought of Tim I thought of love and specifically requested the Corinthians passage. I know it’s usually used for weddings, but it seemed fitting for Tim’s funeral because I really could substitute Tim’s name for the word “love” and it was true. “Love is patient; love is kind; It does not boast. It is not proud….” That part of the service resonated for me as well. Thank you so much for your support and presence during this horrible and horribly sad time.

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  5. I’m glad you are back too! I’ve missed your writing.

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  6. Beautiful thoughts and images. I am glad to get to share in your advent blog……..lovely!

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  7. Lauren

    so happy you’re back! I’ll be here….

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  8. ‘…a lot of irresponsible and hurtful things…’

    We are hardest on ourselves, trust me on that one, because I’m queen of treating myself harshly. It can be good, causing us to reflect and strive for better, but beyond a certain point, it can consume and inhibit.

    What this tells me is you care, and that is a big big big positive.

    Welcome back.

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  9. Marilyn Ford

    I am sooo excited that you started writing again! I am here and I can’t wait to read your blogs and share my thoughts. I love Maya Angelou! I love your message about how love wins. During my recent medical diagnosis I tried so hard to give up, to throw up my hands and push people away! I was angry,scared and a very nasty person. I was so absorbed with ME that I did not appreciate and believe that I
    could be so loved by so many people! Now that I have lived this experience and.accepted the love and.support from my family and.friends I realize that LOVE does win! it Is an amazing force that we must remember to give and to receive. Hugs:)

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  10. Colleen Crowley

    Thanks for writing Leslie. I always enjoy your writing. I missed this first one and am now reading backwards through my e-mail. It is very good of course. I am sorry for the loss of your friend’s brother, Tim. But you showed up for him and his sister. Bless you. I take this season “one day at a time.” It is so hard with the darkness. Colleen

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