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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: It's a Colorful World (12/03/09)

TITLE: Just One Flip of a Switch
By Dianne Janak


“A situational depression is when an unexpected crises throws a person into shock and grief, and it would not be normal to not be depressed. I’m going to prescribe some anti-depressants to get you over the hump. Hopefully you will start to feel better.”

The familiar, helpless, sad look on his face said it all. In despair, I walked away with a lump in my throat. No one had any answers for us. Prayers were plenty, and we needed them. But answers were few. And now my doctor thought pills would fix my monotone mood, which had turned into an agonizing numbness.

Our daughter and her husband, the parents of triplet toddlers, are in the midst of a tragic divorce . The crises has been an ongoing nightmare for almost a year now, with new revelations of heartache and deceit almost on a weekly basis.

Life had lost its color, and the shades of gray were even blurry with no clear meaning. I couldn't fake holiday cheer this year and didn't think pills would help.

Was God hearing our prayers?

My husband dealt with his pain by staying busy . Helping with the triplets the past three years had kept us so pre-occupied, we had neglected putting up any Christmas lights, but this year he was determined to spend an entire day decorating our front yard with a simple explanation.

“This is the first Christmas our grandkids will know it’s a celebration of Jesus’s birthday. I want to make sure it’s a good memory. They need to understand we celebrate no matter what is going on in our family.”

I knew he was right, but my mood was not helping, and I couldn’t snap out of it. I felt naggy and couldn’t resist the urge to show it. I like single white lights in our front yard and have told him that on numerous occasions.

He insisted on buying all colors of lights and mixing them together. I chose to blame the depression on my Scrooge- like attitude, which is a nice “out” for me. When life loses its energy, its difficult to even fake bright, cheery and colorful lights.

But I had no energy to push my position and now thank God for his persistence.

When my daughter brought the triplets over for the first time since our lights were up, I waited on our front porch near the switch to surprise them at just the right moment.

I was told later that their squeals and joy of seeing the neighborhoods lit up for Christmas already set the mood in the car. When they got to my home, there was silence when my daughter turned off the engine. She rolled down the window and I heard Nathan say,

“How come Nana and Papa don’t got wights?”

That was my cue. Flash and suddenly our front yard came alive in front of us for the great reveal.

Their shrieks of gleeful surprise from the backseat resonated throughout the neighborhood. It went on and on, and the more excitement our grandtrips showed , the more I smiled.

Smiled? What was happening?

As we unbuckled them and let them out the three of them ran up to the lights shouting,

“Nana it’s Kissmas… look at the wites. Look at the wites..”

Matthew ran up to each of the colored ones touching them, “there’s wellow, red, there’s bwue, gween, and look at the wite ones! All the colwers! Look at them Nana! How did they get here?”

As I looked at my daughter’s huge grin on her face, and as their elation kept getting louder and more animated, my foggy focus started to clear.

Where had my joy gone?

Running in my house and seeing our tree up , though not yet decorated , all three of them were jumping up and down crying “It’s Kissmas!! It’s Kissmas!”

I looked at my daughter, tears in her eyes and mine, and noticed I was starting to feel again.

In living color.

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This article has been read 921 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 12/10/09
And a switch in attitude. You've profiled some strong emotions without laboring the point. I love the way your MC warms to hope in spite of what's been happening in her family, as the grandchildren live out the beauty of the prophecy of Is 11:6: "... and a little child will lead them." Have a wonderful Christmas.
Lynda Schultz 12/10/09
Lovely story.
Barbara Lynn Culler12/10/09
Beautiful story-I can identify with the monotone feelings!
Sarah Negroni12/11/09
This felt very real. I'm sure many people experience this during the hoildays. Very good story. Cute dialogue. I enjoyed reading it.
Kimberly Russell12/14/09
I've lived ina life that was shades of gray--you describe it very well and give hope in a situation that is often hard to see. Very well done.
Beth LaBuff 12/14/09
I love your story. In the midst of despair and heartbreak, there is hope. This is so tenderly written. Praying for you...
Aaron Morrow12/14/09
Beuatiful and painfully realistic. Thank God for His healing. Excellent work!
Virgil Youngblood 12/14/09
Thanks for sharing. Aren't grandchildren grand!
Bryan Ridenour12/14/09
Great story of joy being restored. Thanks for sharing. Well done.
Patricia Turner12/14/09
An excellent title. A very nice sorrow to sweet story. I like the toddler's exclamations of "Kissmas!" too.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/09
Beautifully told story. Joy that comes from little grandchildren is better than any pills.
Rachel Phelps12/16/09
Catrina Bradley 12/16/09
Great transition from despair to joy - smooth and natural. Well written and a tug on the heart. I love the message of hope in this Christmas story.
Beth LaBuff 12/17/09
Dianne--I'm pleased to see this on the EC list. Be encouraged, God is still on the throne. Praying for your family. ...and super congrats!! :)