It appears that time has escaped me, yet again. Between work and social engagements, I’m left with mere hours to plan, prepare, and purchase gifts for my family and friends. Nothing like a little holiday scramble to really get you in the Christmas spirit.
That and an overpriced plane ticket.
I just booked my flight home for Christmas…yesterday.
That word brings up a lot of emotion for me.
I lived in the same house my entire life before I moved to NYC. And for as many beautiful and cherished memories I have within those walls, it also holds many not-so-lovely memories. Memories of pain. Of despair. Of “what-could-have-beens.” For my childhood home is also where I suffered through my anorexia. A world away from my current life – fully restored & fully alive – in NYC.
So returning home, to be honest, has always been a double edged sword: completely filled with love from my family and loved ones there, yet haunted by the dark past that is so visible everywhere I turn — Places that were the setting of my enslavement to ED. There’s something about a physical reminder that’s a real jab in the side.
But something happened during my last trip home over Thanksgiving:
The cloud had lifted.
There was no longer a veil of pain over my home.
And I attribute that to one thing:
A heavy word, yes, I know.
And I’m not talking about God’s forgiveness, either. Because, His forgiveness is alive and well in my soul, too, the minute I asked for it.
I’m talking about forgiving myself.
I’ve finally forgiven myself of the pain I inflicted on my loved ones and the harm I did to my body.
Forgiveness. Finally. And I can now allow myself to truly go home.
I can now let myself see past that dark history and see my childhood home for what it truly is: a place to move forward. A place where there are people who love and care about me. A place of peace. A place where I have been forgiven. A place where I can continue to blossom into the young woman I was made to be. A place where there is a future. Joy. Hope. Peace.
Forgiveness. Of self.
Yesterday the little girl I nanny for, asked me why we only celebrate Christmas on one day.
In NYC, there is a large Jewish population, and we’re at the tail end of Hanukkah. So naturally, this little girl wanted to know why Christmas only has one day of presents, when her Jewish friends get eight?
And so I gave her the best answer I could think of on the spot: “Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday.”
And as I was walking home, I felt like I had really given a paltry response to such an important question.
“We’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday”!? *Facepalm
Come on, BBB – you can do better than that!!
Seriously though. Why Christmas? What’s the significance of Christ’s birth?
Jesus was born to die.
A sobering thought to think about as we’re hanging mistletoe and singing lovey dovey carols about “Joy to the World” and “Jolly Old St. Nick.”
We’re celebrating the birth of the man whose one purpose on this earth was to die. So that you and I could be forgiven and have admittance into Heaven.
My anorexia, and all the bullshit that went with it – the lying, the deception, the hurtful things yelled in rage at people I love, the killing of my body and turning away from God – all those things I did, were forgiven. They were forgiven the second the nails went through Jesus’ hands on the Cross. They were forgiven the second I apologized to Him and asked for forgiveness.
He is loving and full of mercy. And He has forgiven me of all of that crap in my past. Even the things that I felt suffocated in shame from. Forgiven.
And that was why, when I would go home, all I would see was the backdrop of where I had hurt the people I love, and hurt myself. My home, which should have been a place of comfort, instead accused me of all the wrongs in my past.
I was saying, “Yes, but what I did is unforgivable, even for You, God.”
That right there, friends, is pride at its ugliest.
Withholding self-forgiveness did nothing but keep me from the freedom that God so wanted me to have.
And freedom it is.
I can now truly say, that I am excited to return home. To return to a place where, yes, there was a lot of hurt – but also a lot of love and mercy shown. Reminders of pain are now reminders of forgiveness and unconditional love.
I am now at home, at home.
And it’s all because, in a manger, lies a Child, who came into the world to die on a Cross, so that you and I might be forgiven.
And that, truly is a joy to the world.