I wish every single child on Earth could wake up and experience the magic of Christmas. That every single child was loved and wanted and respected. That no children goes to bed hungry tonight or any night. That every child everywhere has the opportunity to grow and learn and have whatever life they want to have.
I wish we had this house when Jonathan and Megan were small. I can imagine them running down the stairs to the fireplace- a real fireplace instead of the stockings hanging on the t.v. stand. Not that we have a need for a real fireplace in Eastern North Carolina, but still. They are almost 24 now and there are so many things I wish I could take back. So many things I wish I had done better. So many things I wish I could fix.
I wish Ginger was still alive. I miss her so much my heart aches sometimes, even though it's been nearly two years since she left us. How can it be almost two years already?
I wish this damn pandemic was over. I wish things could go back to the before times.
I kind of wish that. Not exactly because a lot of the before times was also terrible.
I just wish.
I wish that I didn't struggle so much with my body. I wish I didn't have to convince myself every single day that there is something redeeming in who I am. That my weight, whatever the number on the scale, doesn't define me. I wish I didn't struggle with food and eating. I wish I didn't feel like I have to work out three times a day.
I wish I didn't feel like I have to do everything all the time. Like I constantly have to prove myself. Like if I ever, ever stop then someone will figure out that I don't belong and kick me out.
I wish I wasn't so scared of the wolf at the door. I wish I didn't live in constant fear of the next domino falling and everything coming apart.
I wish my husband didn't have epilepsy. I wish he'd never had a brain injury. I wish I didn't feel him slipping away sometimes. I hate it. I hate it so much. Even though our marriage has evolved into something really lovely, sometimes I really miss who he used to be.
I wish I could go back sometimes.
I wish I didn't want to go back. I wish I could trust myself to change the outcomes if I did.
I wish I could tell five year-old Stephanie and twenty year-old Stephanie that life would get better. That the hard times don't last. That there will be people, maybe only a few but people, actual live, real people who do love you. Maybe if I could tell five year-old and twenty year-old Stephanie then 46 year-old Stephanie wouldn't still find it hard to believe.
I wish there wasn't so much hate in the world. I wish the vast amount of conspiracy and misinformation that is turning families against each other didn't exist. I wish people who claim to be followers of Christ and outwardly shout hate and discontent and cruelty would just stop.
I wish I wasn't so lonely. I wish it wasn't so hard for me to be myself. I wish everyone could know the me who does elaborate dance routines in the privacy of her living room, with only the dog as an audience as much as I wish people could know the vulnerable woman who sometimes sits in her car and wails in anguish at how damn hard everything is before drying her eyes, walking inside, and getting every hard thing done. I wish I didn't have so much absolute fear of what people would think or do if they knew the real me. I wish I didn't have so much confirmation of how much people hate the real me.
I wish addiction wasn't a thing.
I wish my son would find a woman who loves history (and talking about history) as much as he does.
I wish my daughter could find a full-time job.
I wish America could get it's proverbial shit together. I wish there wasn't so much hate and division and stupidity. I wish every teenager, every police officer, and everyone serving the country could come home safe tonight.
I wish people would learn to listen. I wish people would stop thinking anyone gives a shit about whether or not Santa Claus is a man or woman or what Dr. Seuss books were pulled off the shelf and start talking about things that actually matter like children not having a decent education or food to eat or a stable home to live in. Like people in jail forever for minor drug offenses and people who have money buying their way out of jail no matter how many crimes they commit. I wish everyone could feel loved and seen and heard and valued. I wish people talked about what matters instead of yelling about nonsense.
I wish I could find the peace I only find when I'm walking in the woods, talking to Jesus.
I wish I knew what was so awful and horrible and repugnant about me that people in my family and people that I considered good friends decided that I wasn't worth talking to anymore. I still have no idea what I did wrong. Maybe it doesn't matter- maybe I just don't even need to know. It does hurt though, and I wish it didn't.
I wish you love and peace and grace and wisdom. Today and always.