Last weekend I started this journey to the manger,one day at a time til we reach Christmas Day. Some blogs were back to back and others allowed a day to reflect before reading the next post.
The wisemen brought gifts to Joseph and Mary, for Jesus. Most think of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- the physical and tangible gifts. BUT, their first gift was that of faith. The magi's faith recognized the star shining brightly in the sky and their faith guided them to the quiet manger and Jesus.
The next was Jesus' gift to us, His death on the cross that provided us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is that still and quiet voice within leading us through our days and helping to carry our innermost thoughts to heaven.
Yesterday, the gift of friendship was given. C.S. Lewis reminded us, friendship isn't necessary but it does "give value to survival". Today, I want to delve deeper into the gift of relationships, this time, the gift of "sisterhood". A gift I'm thankful for. God blessed me with eighteen years of memories with my sister, Heidi Allen. On April 3, 1994, I thought I lost this gift forever but after many years, prayers, conversations, and times of reflection...sisterhood is a forever gift.
Years later, I understood what they meant but in the pain of the moment, with Heidi kidnapped and missing...I couldn't see or feel their love, concern, and desire to eliminate the pain. If you want to know more about this aspect, check out my book, Where's Heidi? One Sister's Journey. But for today, let me share an experience from last week.
I was reminded of this chapter as I listened to my friends and coworkers visit during lunch on Friday afternoon. The conversation started with child birth and transitioned to the bond between sisters. I listened to them each share all they loved about their sister(s) and the things that drove them crazy. Thankfulness flowed from each of their mouths, for the relationship they have with their sister. One has multiple sisters and they each talk, daily.
I fought tears back and thought about leaving the lunch room multiple times because I was overwhelmed with their appreciation, love, and closeness with their sisters. How I long to talk to my sister daily. I miss seeing her each day, either before or after work. I miss "Sister Day" on Thursdays. I grieved the daily phone calls and our kids growing up together, as we planned.
While thankful my friends have this close knit bond with their sisters, my heart was so heavy with grief...missing Heidi. Instead of running from the break room and crying in the bathroom stall, I fought back the tears until my lunch break was over. I pushed thoughts of Heidi, memories, and missed opportunities to the back of my mind and carried on with my day.
After school, my daughter asked multiple times, "Are you okay?" I responded, "Yes." She didn't believe me and persisted throughout the afternoon and evening. I thought the mask of "everything is okay" was on but my beautiful daughter could see beyond it and became concerned. As we ventured home she asked again, followed by, "Mom, are you okay? I'm getting worried." Time to remove the mask.
With an honest and transparent heart, "Mags, I'm not okay. I just miss my sister. I miss your Aunt Heidi. It's just one of those days." She smiled, put her hand on my arm and said, "It's okay Mom, everyone has a bad day." We finished our ride home in silence. A peaceful, reflective, and comfortable silence. Once home, the remnants of the week's busyness reminded me I had things to get done.
It wasn't until I sat to watch Hallmark that the flood gates opened. One of this year's new movies is Angels and Ornaments. The final song for the movie reached into the depths and the suppressed lunch time grief, released...and released...and released...I'd like to share this song with you, I found it on YouTube.
Holidays are a challenge for those missing a loved one. My family, and others, miss our "missing" loved one and most are missing someone they had to say good bye to, often too soon.
Christmas is a time of celebration, it's Jesus' birth that offers a rebirth of hope in the hearts of many this holiday season. Don't give up.
Let the tears fall BUT remember, Jesus was born to die. He died, so we can have eternal life. Heidi's kidnapping taught us a valuable lesson, cherish each day...tomorrow isn't a guarantee. While I miss my sister, in the words of my Gram, I must "Live for the living." Off to celebrate family and make memories.
Until we meet again Heidi...forever my sister and in my heart.