A Feast of Jell-O

I never could have foreseen, as we sat in the emergency room on Christmas day with my mom, the blessings that awaited us.

Nine days later, after enduring excruciating pain and that awful fear goes along with the unknown and undiagnosed, we’re still in the hospital, but Mom is herself again. Sitting up, working a crossword puzzle, looking forward to the warm broth that will arrive at lunchtime.

At the beginning, however, we were scared. And she was scared. And Christmas was looking pretty bleak.

But here I sit, on the ninth day of Christmas, one day into the new year, looking over the memories we’ve made in this hospital, and all I can feel is grateful. The gifts we’ve received this year are too huge to fit under any Christmas tree.

There have been hours of visiting and pulling together with family and friends. There have been moments of sensing God’s presence in this very room, and of feeling a clear, encouraging smile from my dad, who we lost years ago.

I got to see the unbreakable thread of strength that runs through my mother’s spirit, and realized for maybe the first time ever that it runs through me, too. I finally threw away the idea that we are each of us little islands in a turbulent sea—and clearly saw the reality that we are all one, and that when one of us hurts, we all hurt. I saw that healing in spirit comes by way of kindness. That kindness is as easy as a smile or a prayer or a warm blanket; as profound as love itself. That nurses are God’s hands and feet in the world. That these bodies we walk around in are nothing short of a miraculous, unthinkably brilliant design.

That we need God more than we ever imagine through the days when all is running smoothly.

My New Year’s resolution is to be more mindful of that.

And I am resolving to notice the beauty that lies in every little corner of my world. To lay down the fear that I have insisted on lugging around with me, and fully accept the gift of abundant life—not just my little life, but the bigger life that I am a part of. And to try to keep some sense of perspective: the kind of perspective that, after a week of only IV fluids, makes a cup of cold water an elixir, and lemon Jell-O a delicacy—and makes the idea of worrying about things that amount to nothing seem like a ludicrous waste of precious time.

There is something to celebrate in every single day. For all of the things that go wrong, there is still so much right in the world. There is a great feast on the table, even on the coldest winter days. And we are all invited—exactly as we are. And there will be dancing, and laughter, and beauty. And there will be Jell-O. Resolve to come to the party.

4 thoughts on “A Feast of Jell-O

  1. Tracy, I spent Thanksgiving Day in the ER with my mom. The table was set, dinner was ready, everyone ate without us. I too felt the strength of my mom flow through me. Thank you for the reminder that we are all connected. Thank God. Praying your mom is doing well. You are a beautiful daughter.

  2. Oh sweet Tracy, I pray that all is good with your mom! Two Christmases ago my mom had a massive heart attack (on Christmas day), and had three stints inserted where needed in order to save her life. We had a wonderful Christmas that year too! The reality of what really matters – each other! The BEST gifts! I LOVE the way you described your holiday in the hospital! You are such an amazing daughter!!! I will be praying for you all. BTW, my mom is doing great! Hugs to you!!

    1. Wow, Becky! What a Christmas that was–and so glad your mom is okay! So is mine! You said it exactly right: the reality of what really matters. Each other. Family and friends like you. Miss you! Hugs right back to you!

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