December 11, 2014

Episodic Christmas Memory by Connie Inglis

It began in October--not Christmas but the series of events that made the Christmas memorable.

It began with a phone call from his girlfriend. "Your son is in the hospital," she said. "He is fine," she said. Only he wasn't fine; he was ill--not with a physical illness per se but with a brain illness or, if you need the common term, a mental disorder and all the stigma that goes with it. Like good, loving parents, we intervened. This meant a 1,300 km plane and road trip but it was the only thing we knew to do. For my husband and I, we knew nothing about this type of illness. With each question we seemed to fall deeper into a pit of research with no answers, uncertainties with still more questions and little guidance for us to help our son climb up and out.

That was episode 1. Then came episodes 2 and 3 within a span of two months. Our son was hospitalized after both of these in two different cities far from our home.  So, while most of the world was decorating trees, baking cookies and shopping for gifts, my husband and I were driving to and from the hospital, touching base with the doctors and nurses, seeking guidance from anyone with knowledge about our son's illness. For someone who loves Christmas and everything that goes with it, I struggled just with getting through the day and its challenges; I had no energy to think about all the extra festivities.

However, through these dark days GOD showed up. Just like He did over 2000 years ago in the form of a helpless baby, He came down and touched my life, touched our lives. At one point I ran out of words to pray and I just had to surrender and say, "Okay, God. I don't know how to pray anymore. I can't. I am now relying on the prayers of others to get us through this." That was assuring for me. I knew many, many people were praying. I saw it in the timing and moving of events and circumstances. I saw it in the kindness of nurses and doctors to our son and to us. I saw it in people of God who gave us a place to stay when we had no place. And I saw it in words--words He gave me to be able to journal the journey--words He gave me to transfer my pain into poetry. It was a beautiful release. God came down to me. WOW. Isn't that exactly what Christmas is all about?

We did get home before Christmas which was another answer to prayer. But I cannot answer the question, "How was your Christmas?" You see, this Christmas memory has yet to unfold because these events are happening right now, this Christmas. I do know, however, that it will be a simpler Christmas--where the exchange of hugs and laughter will matter more than the exchange of gifts. I'm looking forward to it. And today I'm going to decorate my tree!


  1. My Dear Connie, I am so sorry to hear of the difficulties your son, and consequently the rest of you, are going through. What a blessing that God has come down to you, that he is Emmanuel--God with you. I appreciate your resolve to decorate your tree. I will pray for your son and for all of you.

  2. My goodness! My prayers certainly go out to you and your family.

  3. As one privileged to be in the same writing group as Connie, and therefore privy to follow this unfolding story and be a prayer warrior, I'm encouraged to hear how God is moving, revealing his presence in the midst of the storm.

    I'm encouraged, too, by your faithfulness, Connie. I know that's not your goal, but it is a result of your leaning heavily on Jesus. It would seem that in YOUR weakness, WE, too, are made strong.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you and your family.

  4. Dear Connie, Thank you for sharing and for declaring your trust in God before the outcome of the story is known. The great beauty of Christmas is the name of Immanuel--God with us! Prayers that you may know and feel that presence.

  5. Thank-you for your encouraging words and prayers, all of you. Yup, it's been a Christmas to remember--to remember God's goodness that is.

  6. Dear Connie,
    I could so relate to your post! I had surgery two weeks ago and I am confined to bedrest. I am seeing the love of Christ in friends that bring meals, come clean my house, caring phone calls and my family who is working overtime to care for me. That is truly what Christmas is isn't it? Christ's love for us. Christ working through others. I will pray for you and your family. Blessings :)

  7. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I'm so thankful that God meets us right where we are at with love, compassion , mercy and grace!


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