Christmas is almost here and family and friends are getting together. It’s a celebration of love all over the world. The gift to the world was a baby over 2,000 years ago and Christian faiths will bow their heads in holy worship to Jesus Christ, who came into the world to show us love. Others will pause to celebrate in their own private ways and different faiths knowing it’s a time to give and be more kind. The spirit of that gift of love is still felt today and alive centuries after for all.
Can you imagine how different the world was back then, when a man with his expectant wife traveled at night on foot and by donkey through narrow, dusty mountainous paths to get to the more populous town, Bethlehem? Government requirements were demanding, even back then. It didn’t matter that his wife was pregnant and they had to go far from home. He needed to find a safe place for his wife to give birth. Times became treacherous for them after and they had to flee for the safety of their newborn son.
We couldn’t be more worlds apart today than then and, yet, there’s much that is still the same. Still, there are those traveling on foot with their families to be safe and get to a better place. We all want to have what’s best for the ones we love, be warm, work, eat and enjoy our friends, family and watch our children grow as we get older. Not much on that has changed throughout time just the forms they come in.
Through all the commercialism and rushing around to get everything done, there’s magic and a different spirit at Christmas. I can feel it in the air and see it on the faces of people in the stores and streets. Of course, there’s more sparkle in the eyes of children as they burst with glee in anticipation of Santa.
No matter what someone may be going through, I feel grace and compassion in the attempts to love and feel loved, when it’s hard. It’s there and especially strong at Christmas. People are helping people with love. It fills my heart with hope that it will always be there.
Merry Christmas to all of you and God Bless in the New Year!
This, being human, has it’s interesting twists and turns. Some days I’m tuned in while others I’m at a total loss and confused. But, this poem puts it back in perspective for me and is tender in helping me realize what’s important in life and why I’m here.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
I can relate and understand that ups and downs are lessons, if I listen. Some just don’t make sense but that’s the point. It’s not what I understand with my head but with my heart. As I travel further on this journey, with this insight, I see the magic.
Sometimes, these twists and turns teach us to face our biggest fears. It reminds me of a story, I once read I never forgot, in “Saint Francis” by Nikos Kazantzakis (page 93), where he had a dreamlike vision. The one thing Francis was most terrified of was the very thing he was instructed to do . . . kiss a leper on the mouth.
I can pretty much guess this isn’t something we would be asked to do today but the fear Saint Francis experienced with being challenged to follow through on this request was as real as any we could possibly face now. You could sense his entire body was tormented and trembling at the very thought of it.
To paraphrase, this story goes on like this: Almost paralyzed in fear, the next day Francis managed to get up and walk down the road, with Brother Leo, attentive for the sound of bells off in the distance. This was the sound of a leper coming. They wore bells to let others know they were near
Francis soon heard it and as he got closer he could see the leper. He came close and gazed in horror as half of his nose had been eaten away. His hands had no fingers and were just stumps and his wounded lips were oozing.
Ignoring his own terror, Francis then embraced him, throwing himself upon the leprous man and kissed him upon the lips choosing instead to follow God’s request. He, then, picked him up, wrapped him in his robe and began carrying him toward the city. As he got closer, Francis stopped and bent down to uncover the robe carrying the leper but as he pulled it away the robe was empty.
Unable to speak, Francis suddenly realized, with tears flowing from his eyes and falling to the ground to kiss the earth, that it wasn’t a leper at all. It was Christ Himself who had come in the form of a leper to test his faith.
You may ask if we’re really tested like this . . . maybe or not. But, magic happens, like Saint Francis experienced, when we have the same realizations. Our eyes are opened to the same possibilities, when we accept challenges we face each day and ignore our greatest fears. Are the beliefs we have real or are they just illusions?
How strong is the belief that we’ll risk our very lives to hold on to it. That’s the greatest challenge some are facing today in very real ways and it’s valid. It’s like the story of the man holding on to a rope unwilling to let go.
And a little like what I saw yesterday at a breakfast gathering when the conversation turned to the latest controversial topic of immigration and children being separated from their families.
The emotions were real, strong and valid. There was anger, yet tears in the eyes of the one who spoke. Even though our positions are different, I understood. I had been there and felt the dilemma on the inside where beliefs are so strong and justified but being challenged with different feelings from the heart. It’s hard to know what is true and how to let go.
It’s something we each struggle with and have to learn to identify. When we get what we think is guidance, who’s talking and can I trust it? Individually, it takes time to figure that out. But with it comes magic. It’s possible to work through and so worth it on the other side.
Thank you for reading and hope you’ll share some thoughts and experiences you’ve had too.
I’ve hesitated writing this because, first, I wanted to work through it and, secondly, I didn’t want my words to be misunderstood and sound like more rantings.
Hubby and I were talking recently one morning, when I became saddened by the latest news reports and political bashings. It’s the last thing I want to do is enter into that circus arena and add to the political and social opinions.
But, there comes a time when speaking out might help to give a different perspective. That’s what I found to be true for me when I worked through this. I found hope again and got a new outlook.
Underwood No. 5 keys Photo by Pat David Courtesy of PhotoDropper
I was humbled today in a very tender way. So much so, I felt embarrassed and was moved to tears. It led me to write this post to capture what I felt so I would remember.
As is the case, I’m grateful in not having to plan most of my days. Instead, I enjoy watching them unfold. I found myself this morning watching this day unfold by attending to techy, computer work. Hubby had gotten another external hard drive with more space to back up our files as I had run out of room on the other drive. I tend to accumulate stuff and have difficulty purging. That’s a topic I’ll save for a different time.
It seemed simple. Create a new folder on the new drive and copy and paste files over from my laptop. As he was giving me the instructions on the new drive, I found my chest and throat tightening to a point where I was having trouble talking. I was panicking about something new to learn and afraid of messing up something I believed to be important. I know it sounds crazy.
I’ve felt this before when I’ve had difficulty understanding, afraid of losing something or screwing it up beyond repair. I don’t know why I get myself so worked up with computer stuff. Lord knows I’ve worked my way through so much in creating a blog, videos, and e-book, even worked as an administrative assistant for some 25+ years. So, on it went with the banter back and forth until I just copied the ‘dang’ files over . . . and then it happened. Continue reading →
It’s that time of the year, when you hear of graduations, see the excitement of young faces and read of their stories in the media. A new chapter is beginning in their young lives and they’re being launched out in the world.
Some have plans and others will figure it out as they go. For my eldest daughter, it was to be a Registered Nurse and, for my youngest, it was to be an author and self-employed entrepreneur building keepsake trunks.
Times have dramatically changed now growing up as a teenager, when for me it was the ’60’s and then much later for our daughters. I can still relate to the spontaneous fun and hanging out with friends. There’s no other time like it. Continue reading →