Do You See What I See
“Winter collapsed on us this year,” says Emily Fridlund, leaving us exhausted, spent, and on our knees. Here we are on the brink of the winter solstice, the height of a worldwide pandemic, and praise be to God the end of 2020. Historically this time of year people celebrate the coming of light, a rebirth if you will, one in which good overcomes bad, sadly our celebrations have become more consumeristic in nature, it’s as if our spirituality is sheltering in place, and we’ve locked down our opportunity for birth, death, and renewal.
The one thing Amazon can’t deliver.
On this most hallowed and blessed of days I’m
lamenting reflecting on our true gifts as human beings, the ones we were born with, the ones God created existentially for the benefit of others. In the wisdom of all things good and holy, it turns out we are wonderfully made, albeit with unique callings, dour obstacles, unwonted abilities, and let’s be honest, a few deviant tendencies.
I remember one winter not long ago, warding off feelings of remarkable worthlessness, it crept up on me like the night, shrouding me in darkness, and try as I may I couldn’t shake this sense of gloom. The struggle was real. As far as I know these feelings were baseless, I had four “active” children, a fine specimen of man, a cozy home…what was wrong with me?
I was failing to thrive, blind to the possibilities, tired and small, too weak to deflect the opinions of others, beliefs I deemed hostile to my way of being in the world. I was lost if you will in my own little crypt but I was covering well.
Then someone came along and turned on a light, she probably doesn’t know to this day how her suggestion saved my sorry ass. After an arduous process, I found myself, and as if Christmas on steroids luminescence came back into my world.
This is why we need to be brave, heroic, if not for ourselves, for each other. “Sometimes you save people with your words or with acts of kindness. Other times people save you. That’s what we were meant to do on this earth,” says Richelle E. Goodrich.
As I was crawling out of my crypt, I became addicted to writing, and although my family was perplexed, I couldn’t stop. As Allison Marie Conway says, “the pressure builds and builds as with any addiction, until you can no longer manipulate your mind or body away from what you most desire.” Conway goes on to say, “what I know in the pit of my stomach, at the center of anything inside me that could ever be considered holy, is that if there is to be life there has to be words.” Amen sister.
That’s the beauty of it, as it turns out you are exactly what the world needs at this precise moment in time, it says so in Esther, “this is the moment for which you have been created.” That’s why you’re here, to say yes to the thing only you can do, and for most of us that comes after a slew of failures, but your destiny will rise, and you’ll be drawn towards your fate as the wisemen to the star of Bethlehem.
Do You Hear What I Hear
I believe our purpose is time sensitive like taxes and avocados, because to everything there is a season, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to count as lost, a time to keep and a time to discard. That little piece of advice was written two thousand years ago, and it’s still applicable, holy guacamole.
Our purpose could be to simply validate the lost, I realize that’s a big job, as most of us are navigationally challenged, but this leaves the potential for success untapped. I wanted to say as plentiful as the stars, but I’ve been using that metaphor to excess, tis the season.
The thing is we all know who to turn to when we need to chat, when we’re confused, or confounded. We know where to find sympathy, solace, and solidarity – most of whom are located on our favorites list.
I know who’s most likely to pop a bottle of wine and watch an old movie.
I know who will grab a sympathy pedicure when I’m grouchy, who’s willing to go for a long ass hike, and who’s willing to blow their diet on a MacDonald’s biscuit, egg, cheese, and sausage sandwich for those especially difficult occasions.
I also know when I’m in hostile territory, when it’s best to keep my thoughts to myself, and stage a low profile. This particular skill was a latent development, I’m still learning, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Right?
The very confusing point I’m trying to extrapolate is we never know when we’ll be called, or what exactly is needed, sometimes it’s the worst examples of humanity who are most in need of our love, and I admit I have failed to recognize this time and again, especially with myself.
The thing is when you get it right, you can “count all joy,” because you feel all lite up, like a sparkler, but that’s another holiday.
Do You Know What I know
I hear our collective sighs this year, and like all emotions, it’s a signal. Sighing is a long, deep breath, it begins with a normal breath, then you take a second breath before you exhale (in case you were confused with moaning, that’s much worse). If we were to interpret our sighs we would discover that people associate sighing with feelings of sadness, or exhaustion, frustration. Sighs are often unintentional expressions of a plan that needs to be discarded, creating a pause before it can be replaced by a novel initiative, or in our case an immunization. That’s so 2020 in a nutshell.
Did you just get the shivers? Me too.
Bring Us Goodness and Light
Hamilton Wright Mabie says blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. Honestly, there is nothing in the world so ridiculously contagious as laughter and good cheer. So our Yuletide challenge for all of us is to slip into our best selves, listen, approve, forgive, share, validate, permit, uplift, glean, support, confirm, justify, bear, brace, and carry each other. For it says in Galatians that we are to bear each others burdens and love one another. When we realize love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things we’ll realize how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. This is Christmas, the presence of humanity, all wrapped up in each other.
Merry Christmas to all, I’m Living in the Gap, wrapping reality, bring some tape.
- “Trust is not a gasoline-soaked blanket that succumbs to the matches of betrayal, never able to be used for its warmth again; it’s a tapestry that wears thin in places, but can be patched over if you have the right materials, circumstances, and patience to repair it. If you don’t, you’re always the one who feels the coldest when winter comes.” A.J. Darkholme
- “Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder–no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.” Candace Bushnell
- “Now is the time of fresh starts. This is the season that makes everything new. There is a longstanding rumor that Spring is the time of renewal, but that’s only if you ignore the depressing clutter and din of the season. All that flowering and budding and birthing— the messy youthfulness of Spring actually verges on squalor. Spring is too busy, too full of itself, too much like a 20-year-old to be the best time for reflection, re-grouping, and starting fresh. For that you need December. You need to have lived through the mindless biological imperatives of your life (to bud, and flower, and show off) before you can see that a landscape of new fallen snow is THE REAL YOU. December has the clarity, the simplicity, and the silence you need for the best FRESH START of your life.” Vivian Swift