I peel back the backing on the first of three electrodes and place it three fingers down from my collar bone. For many years I’ve been checked for missed heart beats, but recently they have become more frequent and have lasted longer, so now the changing of electrodes every other day for 30 days has become my new normal. There’s no denying that a few of the episodes lately have frightened me. The pounding, skipping, and erratic heart beat a few weeks back hurried me to my cardiologist and now, here I am with a heart monitor for the entire Christmas season.
I like to finish all my Christmas preparations early so that I can truly focus on my personal walk toward the manger each year. This year has been no exception, barely a week into the month and the tree is up and decorated, the halls are decked, presents are mostly wrapped, stockings grace the mantle, and the cards and Christmas letter are signed, tucked into envelopes and ready to be dropped in the mailbox. Prepared, but not peaceful, ready but not restful, every missed beat causing me anxiety and sadly robbing me of some of the joy I normally feel this time of the year.
It’s hard to admit my faith is that shallow sometimes. I’ve tried to focus on the Lord, to trust Him for every day He gives me and to not let my anxiety rule my head, or my heart in any sense of the word. The truth is every skipped beat reminds me that I’m not immortal physically, that one day I have to say goodbye to loved ones and to the life that I know and find so comfortable in its familiarity. That’s especially difficult to think about this beautiful time of the year, so filled with family and friends. Happily, rest and some increase in medication will probably go a long way to making my ticker a bit more stable. But, in the meantime I’m hoping to find that missing joy.
It is hard to make changes, to leave the familiar for the unfamiliar, to relinquish comfort and peace for hardship and sacrifice, but isn’t that what God’s Son did on that starry night over 2000 years ago. I can’t imagine leaving the beauty and magnificence of paradise for this broken and torn world, and yet that is what we celebrate this time of year, the birth of a Savoir who left the throne room of heaven for a straw lined manger in Bethlehem. Thankfully that reality has done more to change my thumping heart than any other.
So many people are dealing with difficult challenges, losses, and other hardships, so I hope we can join hands, calm our hearts (even those missing a few beats here and there), and follow the star to the Savior this special season. That’s where the missing joy can be found and it’s what I’m wishing for all of my precious family and friends this Christmas. Hoping there will be peace on earth and in your heart and mine . . . do you think that will show up in my cardio output! I hope so.
I'm a wife, mother and grammie who loves time with family and friends. I love learning new things, visiting new places, and making each day count, because moments matter and I don't want to waste mine.