I’m no therapist, but I’d have to say one of the ways you know you’re healing after a major pitfall in your life is when you are finally able to laugh at yourself. It’s probably good, in general, to be able to have a big ole laugh at your own expense every once in awhile. Humans are pretty hilarious and the things we do and say are down right ridiculous. Most days, I’m a complete mess, which I find hysterical (and sometimes sad). But looking back on some of the decisions I made during “that rotten time when my ex-husband was cheating on me” truly give me pause. Being Southern, I feel it only fair to be completely honest about the crazy things I’ve done. I wear my crazy like a badge of honor. I like to parade it around, dress it up, and show it off. I go big or go home. It’s a miracle I still have friends.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know my obsession with trying to make the holiday season perfect. The December of “the year of the affair” was no different. This was our second Christmas as a married couple. Yes, you read that correctly. We had only ONE happily married Christmas. Pitiful. Note to self: It’s time to get rid of the Mr. And Mrs. Christmas ornaments. I refused to truly acknowledge the severity of my situation. So y’all, in true “let’s pretend that everything will eventually be fine and perfect and wonderful” fashion…I sent out Christmas cards.
Not just Christmas cards that you buy at the store. Oh no. I sent out the Christmas cards that you design online with pictures on the front AND back. Christmas cards that have that very general personalized message on them. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Odds are you send them out and get about 50 in return. It’s the cool thing to do these days. Use a picture of something super amazing that you’ve done the past year or use a professional shot of you and your family all dressed up, but posing casually like “oh, we just hang out like this all the time.” They are printed on heavy card stock with a fantastical holiday themed layout. You write something clever about your year and mail them out to friends and family who get said Christmas card picture, but aren’t surprised by anything, because they’ve been following your life on Facebook, so these perfectly thought out cards aren’t actually news to them or anyone else. Don’t get offended. You know it’s true.
Anywho, I love those cards and I wanted to be the kind of wife that designed a beautiful Christmas card for her little family. I had big plans to keep a scrapbook of every Christmas card we sent out in our lives together. I just knew it would be so precious to watch how we evolved over the years. Maybe one year we’d have a pet in the picture, then a baby, then another baby. I’d pose our future family in coordinated outfits with strategically placed monograms on their clothing. Facebook wouldn’t be able to do it justice. There was no way in the world I was going to let there be a lapse of a holiday card in our family timeline, so even though our marriage was going to hell in a hand basket, I made Christmas cards. They were actually super cute. I used pictures of us from the half marathon we had run the month before. On the front of the card we were standing with our race bibs and on the back we were posing with Dopey and our race medals. I even used the bible verse Psalm 119:32, “I run in the path…” Personally, I only like Christmas cards that have to do with Jesus, because obviously there would be no Christmas without Jesus. Non- Jesus Christmas cards drive me nuts. I don’t get it…so I made sure to add lots of “Jesus” to our card. I was ridiculously proud of my work. One might have thought we were actually happily married.
I wish I could show you these absurd cards that I sent out. But, for legal reasons, I can’t say my ex-husband’s name or show his likeness. I suppose that’s fair. But, if you could see these cards, then you would see a perfect example of my crazy. I was off my rocker. I actually sent out these cards. Hell, I was PROUD of them. Friends and family received these cards from me. I hadn’t told a lot of people about the trials and tribulations of our current situation, so most people probably thought is was a perfectly executed and insanely clever Christmas card (if I do say so myself), and those that knew what was going on probably thought I was a nut bag. And they would be correct.
Here’s the kicker: People stuck with me through my crazy. This particular instance is certainly not the only crazy thing I did during this time of my life. I had friends and family who had to watch me do one crazy thing after another…and they still stood next to me. Crazy and all. They opened a Christmas card from me, where I designed the life I wanted instead of the life I had… they saw it for what it was, and they didn’t run. They also didn’t make fun of me, which they certainly had every right to do. God bless each and every one of them.
More often than not we are “sending out” the life we want instead of the life we have. More often than not we show the world how we wish to be known, instead of who we truly are. More often than not we are hiding our ugly parts and filtering our circumstances so we can be seen from our best angle. It’s exhausting. It’s sad. And it’s basically living a lie. Gross. I don’t send out Christmas cards anymore. What am I supposed to say that hasn’t been said? What is there to see that you can’t see on social media? What do you want to know that you can’t find out from picking up the phone and asking me? Maybe someday I’ll get back into the Christmas card game. But the only real message I want to send out is this: If your Christmas isn’t about Jesus, then you don’t understand Christmas.
*Special shout out to Laura Cady Guzewicz, who sends out the best and most honest Christmas cards. I treasure them.
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”