I’ve had this lavish dream of living in a log cabin, perfectly perched in a field surrounded by Colorado mountains. A walkway outlined by sky-high pine trees guided me up the path to my wrap around porch, serving as a viewing deck to the mountains and sunsets. Natural wood and stone lined the interior, and beyond the age old kitchen table (of course) was my mountain man cooking dinner.
Then reality would hit me and I would remember that I lived in Texas and that simply dreaming about snow was big enough. But in my mind, that place in Colorado was perfect. That was what I would strive to have. Someday. Maybe. But, probably not.
Lord knows I’d freeze in Colorado anyway.
When it gets down into the 40s, my mom and I always beg my dad to start a fire. We are all certain that we would turn into ice cubes if he didn’t. So, instead of throwing on a heavy jacket and boots, instead of trekking outside to get some firewood, my dad walks over to the fireplace, reaches behind a basket, pulls out the lighter, and voila! He lights the logs and the fire has started.
I have always thought that fireplaces had logs that never burned and only produced fake heat. Why would someone willingly start a real fire in their own house? Those kinds of fires get dirty, messy, and sometimes too hot to even be around.
Step outside my house five years ago, and you wouldn’t think our backyard was different from anybody else’s. It had grass, trees, plants, and even a pool. Step outside now, and it almost looks the same, yet something had to change. It only made sense. With the heat of the Texas summers and awkward rain that comes unexpectedly, our yard (on a downhill slope) was getting destroyed.
So the conclusion? My parents replaced the real grass with artificial turf, fixing the mess with something fake.
For some reason, this year I am having a really hard time getting into the holiday season. I don’t know if people are just a bigger bundle of cheer than I can handle, but some days I just wish that the holidays weren’t here.
I don’t mean that to say I’m in a bad mood all the time, stealing toys from the tree and who hash from the refrigerator and cringing at the sound of Christmas music. I’m just not excited. There’s a tension that is constantly stirring within my heart that I can’t seem to pinpoint. I feel disconnected; like I’m reading Time magazine through a new pair of glasses that still feel funky on my face.
I can’t help but see the fake faces of joy and glee reflecting off the tinsel at Hobby Lobby. I can’t help but wonder what people are really thinking, how they are really feeling about buying garland and ornaments, rushing into Target at 8 pm Thanksgiving night. There just seems to be a surge of discontent in the air.
It’s like they’re seeking after that cabin in the mountains, only to cover up the heat and mess of getting there by a fire with logs never burn and artificial turf that never gets dirty.
I really think that we all strive to satisfy our souls with things that society markets to us, just to find something better later on. In the midst of seeking perfection, we crash into disappointment. Upon trying on the mask of sincerity, we get muffled with the mask of phoniness.
And you know what? Sometimes it’s just easier to keep that mask on. I mean seriously, who wants to see that messy, real side of our lives?
I’ve learned that even though it’s harder and usually hurts more to take the mask off, that it is then I can breathe clearly without suffocating and it is then that I can move freely without worrying if I get dirty. Not to say I’m always real and honest, but I do know that I am be able to live a life that is free of falsehood and imitation if I am rooted in Christ.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free.
And for that, I am thankful.