Waiting for the Great Pumpkin at Christmastime

Last night, I stopped by our church’s Christmas party (wow, I can say “Christmas” and “party” in the same sentence now. Weird) for a whopping 20 minutes. I went late, got lost and was downright bored. I talked to the pastor, who I am growing very fond of, and he introduced me to someone I would like to talk to more often and who gave me her contact info if I ever wanted to grab a cup of coffee.

After that I walked around and walked out. Nothing personal, just a little too kid-friendly for my tastes. But today, actual members of the church were asking what happened to me, as they were looking for me.

I’m like a kid in a classroom when it comes to Sunday services — I sit in the very back row. It’s a good group of people who hang out there, which is cool because when we are asked to greet our neighbors, we all know each other. (Oh, how awkward it was during my first few weeks when I didn’t know a soul there.)

Anyway, today I was looking at the guy who always sits in front of me, but oh my God — today I got a really good look at him and I realized why he looked vaguely familiar. From his profile, and maybe even somewhat from the front, he looks like a face I haven’t thought about in ages — but certainly haven’t forgotten about .

I admit that I found my mind wandering during services, back to a “long ago and far away” time. This is someone I miss greatly, when I do remember him. The love and the pain ran its course … for both of us … but he wasn’t easy to get over, especially not when we both knew there was a lot of emotion and certainly passion left that was going to remain unexplored.

I made my peace with my heart back then that if the universe really wanted this to work out, it would help us find a way. And if that way means in the next lifetime, then so be it … we’ll have that same instantaneous connection next time around that we found this time — which we’d both recognized as maybe having felt in a lifetime before this one.

I don’t tell this story to get hung up in the past, or to even pretend that it’s going to stay in my head after I hit the “publish” button on this blog entry. But to tie it into today’s message at church, the pastor said something interesting that I had to write down.

To paraphrase:

We’re all trying to get somewhere in life … to be somewhere or to be someone or to find someone or something. And no matter what the ladder we’re trying to climb — career, relationships, friendships or otherwise — sometimes we lean those ladders against the wrong walls.

That struck me for more than just a second. The context was that if you’re stressed out in certain areas, you may be hitting resistance for a reason — and that reason might be that you need to either stop fighting the battle alone or maybe it’s that you shouldn’t be fighting it at all because you’re in the wrong place and … yep … climbing the ladder but not to the right goals.

Inside my head, something clicked with that analogy. Leaning your ladder against friends who crumble at the first signs of having to make a positive deposit instead of a negative withdrawal from the friendship bank account. Killing yourself to do a great job in a vocation that really doesn’t feel right. Hoping and praying for a relationship to work out that just isn’t meant to be.

Taking it a few steps further, maybe there’s a reason that some doors close and that other, newer doors don’t open. And try as we might to rush at those doors with random, heavy blunt objects, they still won’t open. Why is that?

Everyone is trying to tell us to rely on patience and faith, but when you’ve been hoping and wishing for something, when do you write it off as “that’s clearly not God’s plan for me” and when do you dig in your heels and continue to say, “I believe in you, Great Pumpkin”?

I don’t want to be like Linus, stuck out in the pumpkin patch while waiting for some mythical occurrence that only flourishes inside my own head. But I don’t want to go about my business and not be there to get the gift(s) I’ve waited so long to receive, either.

I guess all you can do is hope for the wherewithal to know which course of action is right to take.

I don’t know if my ladder is leaned against the proper wall. I don’t even know that there is a “right” wall at this point. All I know is that I’m doing my climbing wherever I can find hope, and I don’t think it would be in my heart to want for things that just aren’t meant to be. Because my heart is the most-sincere patch I can name, one that’s certainly a good candidate for the Great Pumpkin if it happens to be thinking of coming around. …

One Lonely Response to Waiting for the Great Pumpkin at Christmastime

  1. Sabre :

    I’m pretty sure my ladder has always been leaning against the wrong walls. I had a lot more typed here, but realized my cynicism was showing and backspaced it all.

    Merry Christmas, babe.