Today you get 2 snogs from me, check out Blissemas for a brand new festive kiss and comment to be in to win the Kindle Voyage!
The number of people flowing towards the church amazes me. There is a buzz of conversation around us, the expectancy is contagious.
“Y’alright, Jim?” A frail old voice comes from the other side of the road.
“Oh, hey Harry. I’m alright, how are you?”
“Fine.” The old man crosses the road and the two old friends continue to chat. As we walk up the path to the church I freeze. Jim only takes a step more then notices I’ve stopped.
“I’ll see you in there, Harry.”
“Aye, alright.” He smiles, tipping his flat cap in my direction.
“I can’t go in.” I shake my head vigorously. “I really can’t go in.”
“Well, you don’t have to.” He smiles, his hand resting on my arm. “I’m going in, though. Come and stand in the porch at least, or you’ll freeze.”
I nod my head and he puts a guiding hand on the top of my arm and gently pulls me forward. I take a deep breath and move through the stone archway. Jim squeezes my arm, making my tummy tumble over and giggle coyly.
“I’ll be just at the back there if you change your mind.” He bends and kisses my cheek, gently. “I’m sorry.” Then he walks off and I’m left wondering exactly what happened just then.
Greg was a great man, but he’d never apologise because he was never wrong, or so he believed, and well, I think I just got an apology from someone who hasn’t actually done anything wrong. Oh, damn-it-all, men are frustrating. I want to talk to him and he’s standing casually by the back pew just chatting with a group of fellow church goers, so why can’t I just walk in and talk to him?
I guess when Greg died I blamed God. I still needed Greg here with me on earth, so why was he taken away from me? I didn’t lose my faith, I just gained a dislike for it. I’ve not talked to God since then and I think walking into His house after such a long time might prove to be uncomfortable.
But I need to talk to Jim. I’ve got to let him know he’s done nothing wrong. I make a slight movement forward just as the priest’s voice echoes through the long stone hallway, welcoming people to this special service and I stay in place. I look over to Jim and he’s looking straight at me. He waves and I blush, waving back before falling back into the cold shadows.
Just the smell of musty hymn books and ancient stone makes me shiver. Greg and I had spent many hours in the church, it was part of our life and our routine, but it’s been such a long time since I last walked through the door. However, right now I feel something drawing me in. Maybe it’s the warmth of the congregation because it is as cold as ice out here but no, I think it’s more than that.
I can hear the Christmas readings, the carols and feel the wave of light-hearted giddiness flowing from inside to outside, pulling me in. I’ve held my grudge far too long and now I begin to wonder why I’d locked all this goodness out of my life.
Because I wanted to be miserable, I wanted to mourn, to be bitter and alone because I love Greg so much. But I can see him now, his smile gentle and warm, his head shaking from side to side but his eyes lit with love and compassion.
He doesn’t want me to be miserable. He only ever wanted to see me happy. Why has it taken me ten years to realize that my unhappiness would break his poor heart. He lived to make me smile, so why disappoint him now?
A high voice begins to belt out a hymn, and the words pull me in to the church. I step over the threshold and listen:
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth,
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
I’m pulled towards the nativity scene, sitting serenely at the back of the church. I walk towards the wooden stable, Mary and Joseph looking down proudly on a smiling babe, lying in a trough of hay.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper, a tear falling down my cheek as I stare at the smiling baby boy.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger.
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, He guardeth us from danger
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
I lower my head, my heart full of emotion. Finally, I’m letting go of a grudge I should never have born in the first place, and losing the weight is almost painful at first as I stretch out what has been repressed for so very long.
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
I feel my breast fill with heat, the love held so long in check blossoms once more and it doesn’t hurt. I open up the love that belonged so long to my husband, the love that we shared, and it feels good to remember and re-feel the miracle of a heart filled with passion and joy.
I feel a strong arm around my shoulder and look up into the bright blue of Jim’s eyes. I swing into his embrace and he holds me tight as I sob into his chest.
“I’m not sad,” I gasp as I lift my face, coming up for breath. “I’m just full of emotion, full to overflowing.”
Jim nods, and continues to hold me close. “Feeling better now?” he asks.
“So much better,” I smile, “oh so very much better.”
“Merry Christmas, Emily.”
“Merry Christmas, Jim.” I laugh because this time I really mean it.