Monday, December 21, 2009
This morning, since today is the one day this week where we didn't have to be somewhere, I decided to put off cleaning the house or finishing up presents (or showering) in favor of something much more delightful and very appropo for the first day of winter: making paper snowflakes.
Once Rosalie was down for her nap, I got out the paper and scissors and sat down on the living room floor with Emma and Annabelle, who were all a-bounce with excitement and glee. I had been promising them this activity for quite some time, and they just couldn't wait to get started.
After I folded up the paper properly, both girls eagerly began cutting. Annabelle soon deserted the idea of snowflakes when she realized that there was a certain way it had to be done. "No, mommy, I'm not going to make snowflakes," she told me calmly as she looked up at me for moment. "I'm going to make a skirt. A ruffly skirt." And so she did. The skirt was soon followed by a cut-out of a sleigh with a door-- or at least that's what she told me it was. Whatever it was, she was quite pleased with her own little creations, even if they weren't snowflakes.
Not Emma, though. We set out to make snowflakes, and she was going to make snowflakes! She sat quietly, working her scissors as best she could, her tongue sticking out just slightly as she concentrated. As I worked on my own cutting, I noticed that her face had begun to fall. Gone was the excitement and glee, and instead she looked worried. Soon she sighed and slumped her shoulders. When I asked her what was bothering her, she replied "This is NOT pretty. It doesn't look like a snowflake at all!!"
I couldn't help but smile slightly, but I quickly told her it would be all right. "Just wait until you're done... then you get to unfold it, and it will be so pretty! You'll see, I promise."
Soon, she was indeed finished with her cutting, and she slowly unfolded it, watching her paper carefully as if she didn't quite believe me. And then, she saw her completed snowflake, each little cut-out perfectly and amazingly intricate and symmetrical, and her face lit up. "Look!! It really is a snowflake!! I love it! I want to make some more!!"
I handed her some more paper, and again, she set to work intently cutting. And yet again, soon, her little face began to look worried. "This doesn't look at all like the other one! It's not the same, and it won't work..."
More reassurance from me, a few more cuts, a new snowflake to unfold, and for the second time I watched her face beam with joy. "This one's even prettier! It looks like a different snowflake! I want to make even MORE."
And so, for the third time, I handed her a piece of folded paper and she began to cut. But this time, as I watched her, there was no sad look of disappointment creeping across her face. Instead, as she cut out little triangles and made dents and gashes here and there, she bounced up and down, a smile on her face. "I can't WAIT to see what this snowflake will look like, Mommy. I can't WAIT to unfold it and see!" She finally understood, finally realized what I was telling her all along, and she knew that she didn't have to worry about the way it would turn out. She knew what was waiting for her to see at the end.
How often, in our own lives, do we question and worry about the way things are right now? Isn't it SO easy to wonder how in the world the things we're dealing with will ever come out right-- or how they could ever be a part of something perfect and lovely?
Take, for example, the fact that tomorrow, a mere three days before Christmas, my mom starts chemotherapy for the cancer that is currently residing in her brain. I think I can safely say that NO ONE in my family envisioned this for our Christmas. No one expected it, or wanted it for this person that we love so much. It's cancer-- it's ugly, and scary, and sad.
And sometimes, it's hard to trust and believe that this truly will work out exactly the way it's supposed to, that it truly is a perfect part of God's plan for her and all of us.
Here's the beauty of it, though: we CAN believe that it will work out, thanks to our heavenly Father. We CAN believe that somehow this is for a reason. No matter what.
We all, every single one of us, have trials and sufferings, hard things that come upon us in life and surprise us, things that make us sad or scared, worried and unsure of what the future might hold. When we're in the midst of those things, we can't know how these circumstances of our life will fit together in the end. We can't know what the outcome will be when it all unfolds.
But, we can trust in this:
In the end, it will be beautiful.
"Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning." ~psalm 30:5