1

“I’m Fine, I’m Fine”

ladies luncheon

The SADNESS of a CHRISTMAS PAST reappears, but only briefly, not as a 6-week block of time. It’s likely triggered by a song on a playlist. It passes as quickly as it comes and it’s all okay.

“All okay” is the refrain of people like me. There was a character on Grey’s Anatomy who kept saying “I’m fine, I’m fine.” I try to be careful about that. (Meredith. It was Meredith.)

On Saturday, I attended a Christmas luncheon and stayed the whole time. Victory!

Last year I showed up, but left before it began. The mix-and-mingle time beforehand was too much of a freefall for me. Nobody did anything wrong. Everyone was lovely. There were just so many happy mother-sister-daughter/daughter-in-law combinations there that it made the big hole in the middle of my family seem more pronounced. I wore myself out smiling, wishing the program would begin. When the greeting time was being extended another 30 minutes, I knew I couldn’t do it. I had to get out of there. I needed some fresh air. Under pretense of making more room on the table, I picked up the large cheesecake I’d purchased at the bake sale and carried it out to my car. But when I got to the car, I just got in and drove off. I don’t think that was my plan when I stepped outside. It just came over me at the car. MAJOR FAIL!

Next day in church, I told the young woman who sits by me what I’d done.

“Next time, we’ll go together,” she said.

* * *

Two weeks ago, she came to me and said, “I bought my ticket for the luncheon, have you? Remember, we said we’d go together.”Golly, I can’t tell you how nice it was that she remembered!

So on Saturday I gave it another try AND I made it all the way through AND I was glad I went. One year is not the same as another, not unless we insist it be. A sadness that was once all-consuming is now fleeting. Give it another year and it will be a distant speck, there but not dominating.

I do think there’s something in at least trying.
I got a do-over on a major fail and things turned out differently.

Courage is important. Also, knowing when you’re at your limit. Also, having a friend to tell and then telling.

 

2

What You Really Want for Christmas…

First Advent candle

If Advent is not for you,
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come.

* * *

YOU’VE HAD A YEAR.
Maybe a year of waiting,
a year perhaps
of tending to everyone else’s stuff
of feeling at times
like you are standing alone on a hill
watching over your flock,
and while you are happy to do it –
grateful to be able to do it –
you see in your reflection
the toll it has taken,
the effect of that wind on your face.

Or maybe you’ve had a year,
not of having too much,
but having too much UNshared,
arms tired.
It is exhausting
carrying one’s gifts,
not knowing where to set them down.

Or maybe you’ve had a year
of news dropped on you
and
you’re still trying to figure out
what your response to it should be,
feeling you ought to know the answer by now,
but there it is every day again, the same puzzle over that.

What you really want
under the tree
is a break from the free fall
you are in.
You aren’t holding out much hope for it.

BUT
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come to it
and meet again
those on hills, tending flocks,
those traveling long, bearing gifts
destination unknown –
those having news dropped on them
and needing to find their responses,
those who have waited a very, very long time,

You need to light a candle
or let someone else, if you can’t,
and to hear it,
bit by bit,
again,
the story.

ADVENT –
the chance to rediscover
you aren’t the only one.

There is a spot for you
in the crowd,
a spot that has maybe
gone empty
long
because
you feel you know the story too well.

By just such thinking as this
have many been kept in isolation.
Step out of your isolation
and into the story,
too familiar and yet completely brand new.

* * *

A repost from the first Sunday in Advent 2011.

4

What you Really Want for Christmas

If you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come.

* * *

YOU’VE HAD A YEAR.
Maybe a year of waiting,
a year perhaps
of tending to everyone else’s stuff –
of feeling at times
like you are standing alone on a hill
watching over your flock,
and while you are happy to do it –
grateful to be able to do it –
you see in your reflection
the toll it has taken,
the effect of that wind on your face.

Or maybe you’ve had a year,
not of having too much,
but having too much UNshared,
arms tired.
It is exhausting
carrying one’s gifts,
not knowing where to set them down.

Or maybe you’ve had a year
of news dropped on you
and
you’re still trying to figure out
what your response to it should be,
feeling you ought to know the answer by now,
but there it is every day again, the same puzzle over that.

What you really want
under the tree
is a break from the free fall
you are in.
You aren’t holding out much hope for it.

BUT
if you know the story too well,
all the more reason to come to it
and meet again
those on hills, tending flocks,
those traveling long, bearing gifts
destination unknown –
those having news dropped on them
and needing to find their responses,
those who have waited a very, very long time,

to light a candle
or let someone else
and to hear it,
bit by bit,
again,
the story.

Advent,
the chance
to
rediscover
you aren’t the only one.

There is a spot for you
in the crowd,
a spot that has maybe
gone empty
long
because
you feel you know the story too well.

By just such thinking as this
have many been kept in isolation long.
Step out of isolation and into the story, familiar yet new.

* * *

I have written this post as part of the Advent Writing Project at Wide Open Spaces. Check out Charity’s words and links to more Advent pieces there.

:-) Check out where Laura wrote, “I am behind on life again” and Charity’s “I’m trying to catch a vision for something.”