In December, Lilly’s ballet school put on a special holiday production featuring vocal music and the Christmas story set to modern dance.
After one of the performances, I was talking to my 83-year-old father, who had been in the audience that afternoon. He told me he had noticed a lone woman in the crowd standing with her arms lifted high during a stirring rendition of “Oh Holy Night.”
Afterwards, he said, he had made it a point to find her and tell her that “Oh Holy Night” also “evoked emotion” in him.
To fully understand the significance of his words, you need to know a few facts about my dad. He’s the son of German immigrants, a mechanical engineer with a master’s degree from an Ivy League university. He’s an avid reader who taught his seven children to think critically and for themselves.
My dad laughs a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever him cry. He’s kind and loving, but he veers more toward logical than sentimental.
Because of all this, the thought that a Christmas song would move my dad made me—I don’t know—sort of happy. His word choice might seem a little stilted, but it was appropriate, given his personality.
I’m thinking of this now, months later, because we’re in a season of family life that also “evokes emotion.” I don’t have any other way to describe it. There’s a weird mixture of sadness, determination and love that is propelling me to engage in ways that are new and sometimes uncomfortable.
There are shades of uncertainty and frustration too, but in my formerly anxious heart, the fear of the unknown is being replaced by the joy of finding purpose in the next step.
Even so, the feelings can be exhausting, and even more so because I don’t always know what to do with them. I don’t really want to talk about them; plus, I don’t know if I could articulate what I’m feeling even if I wanted to.
I wonder if that’s healthy, if I should get counseling, if anyone else feels the same way.
There are times when I find myself holding back tears, praying that I will be able to see what’s true in the midst of all the feelings.
Perhaps this is why, some weeks ago, I got the idea to start writing down the names of God as I read through my Bible. It wouldn’t be the first time the still, small Voice has sent me in a direction that prepared me for what I had no idea would be next.
Maybe right now, more than anything else, I simply need to rest in the knowledge that the King of the world is intimately aware of what’s going on in our lives.
As we move toward uncharted waters, He is already there.
As memories fade, He will never forget our names.
As I list God’s titles chapter by chapter, I’ve discovered that the Creator of heaven and earth also is the One who examines the thoughts and emotions of each individual person (Psalm 7:9).
In other words, He knows exactly what I’m thinking and exactly how I feel.
He knows when emotions are being evoked faster than I can process them.
This is hard for me because I want to figure out all the feelings. But maybe—just maybe—it’s time to leave the examination up to God and just feel the feelings for awhile.