Right after Christmas, J and I both tested positive for COVID. The older kids and the puppy went to stay at their dad's while the two of us holed up inside the house for a long winter's quarantine. Poor J burst into tears when I told him we had the virus, partly because he'd already made it 652 days without getting it, and partly because he'd be missing out on all the fun vacation plans he'd made. And probably partly because my mug was the only thing he was gonna see for quite a while.
It wasn't what J or I expected out of our Christmas break.
No get-togethers with family in town for the holiday. No activities. No cake on G's 13th birthday. No Hamilton (that we've had tickets to for almost two years). No New Year's Eve bash. No game nights. No parties. No visits from grandparents. No church. (Okay, so maybe I was the only one sad about that one.) No puppy, even.
And to top it all off, because we were sick, it wasn't even relaxing.
This holiday break was shaping up to be one big, fat flop.
But looking back, we ended up making a few very different memories instead (in the brief breaks amid my perpetual Nyquil fog, that is...).
We had a snowball fight and built a snowman at 10:30pm when I realized that the light blanket of new snow was the perfect wetness.
I let J eat whatever he wanted (mostly so I didn't have to make him anything, but I also got major points for being nice and fun). Whipped cream straight down the gullet was his first request.!
We looked and felt like death warmed over (my grandpa's favorite phrase) while G opened his birthday presents on the porch. Yeah, it might seem extreme, but we just couldn't risk the whole family having to cancel going to Hamilton...
We pulled out a new brick set that I'd been saving for General Conference. We're huge Lego fans at our house, so it made for some pretty good entertainment. Also entertaining is realizing that each of these photos was taken on a different day, yet someone apparently never once changed his clothes.
Most entertaining of all was discovering that Ham is my brother's Lego doppleganger.
It wasn't the week stuffed with great memories that we'd anticipated, but we made do. Missing out on so many things was really disappointing. But I kept thinking about something Dr. Martin Luther King taught just two months before he was assassinated:
Disappointment is inevitable in life. Anyone who's ever experienced hope or expectation is no stranger to the flip side of not getting everything you wished for.
Last week was a real bummer for J and me, but it doesn't come anywhere near the significant disappointments that many of you are facing right now. So before I say more, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to throw a band-aid on a severed artery and tell you to just focus on the positive. Sometimes life just plain stinks. And if you need to sit in that pain and reality for a while, by all means, do it. Feel it. You don't have to live there, but it's healing to acknowledge the hard and the hurt.
At the same time, there is a powerful reminder in Dr. King's words. Because of Jesus Christ, no disappointment will be permanent. And hope--not just any hope, but hope through Him--is constant, unlimited, and eternal. Things will get better.
The Apostle Paul believed that "if in this life only we have hope [through] Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1). Fortunately for us, Christ broke the barriers of physical and spiritual death, so our hope doesn't have to have an end. His understanding of your past, present, and future is infinite--it is without bounds or limitations. His love is infinite. And His power is infinite.
Because of Christ, the potential for hope is infinite.
Choose to hold on to hope through Him.
1 Corinthians 15:19-20, emphasis added