For the last 7 years I have been writing a blog on Christmas Eve. Usually by the lights of the tree, with a glass of sherry, and Christmas music playing in the background just loud enough to hear it but not enough to distract my thoughts.
It is 3:03 Christmas morning but I couldn’t lay my head down without emptying the “stuff.” The complex emotions of loss and grief tangled around the joy and memories like last year’s lights that took you an hour to unweave. The lights you just assumed would be missing that one bulb you will never find to change so they work again.
And instead of untangling and fixing, you just get new ones.
And so this year isn’t any different. There just isn’t enough time and energy to be fixing. Or the patience of untangling.
Grief can do that. And it comes and goes when you didn’t even know it was there. Quietly.
Or sometimes with huge fanfare. “Watch me walk around you in circles with my 25 piece marching band just in case you didn’t see me… “
And as that grief marches on, it takes with it the joy and the magic we once knew about Christmas. And it becomes so much heavier.
And in order to move beyond the weight of it all, you dig for courage.
Because if you aren’t brave enough to stand in the lights and in the middle of the music and still cry, the grief will continue to circle like a vulture. And eventually it will consume even the brightest of souls.
The long battle that mom fought, the 13 years from diagnosis to her last breath, taught me something that no season or lesson or test ever will. I started to understand what it meant to not take moments for granted. I started to take more pictures and videos, I started to find joy in the moments that seemed simple and average, and in the places and scenery that seemed mundane and normal.
I saw things I never saw before. I took the time to be curious. To ask questions. To listen for the answers.
To stand in the midst of the pain and weep. To laugh in the next moment if that is what was.
I am reminded of the 14th century poet Hafiz when he spoke of our being right where we are supposed to be in our lives.
“This place where you are right now
God circled on a map for you.
Wherever your eyes and arms and heart can move
Against the earth and the sky, The Beloved has bowed there –
Our Beloved has bowed there knowing
You were coming.”
I am not in this place I am in today by accident.
I do not find the darkness this evening peaceful because I want to, I find it peaceful because it is what is present in this moment.
In every light we allow space for dark and in every hole and crack we have amassed over the years, we hope to sit in comfort with whatever is. Not trying desperately to fill and fix each one, but to see the beauty the patterns create just as it is.
In our undoing and our imperfections, beauty shines through in its brightest of light.
And then, possibility is born. A hope of a new moment that feels lighter than the previous. A desire to begin anew. The birth of a possibility is embracing the fact that each moment can bring something new. That the darkness won’t last forever and the joy at some point returns.
But we don’t need to rush it or force it.
In its own time and space.
We search for what’s next… no matter what it may look like or how heavy it is, And the reality of it all is being brave enough to not judge.
To just let go and allow.
And to see Christmas as the birth of a possibility. A new beginning. A moment to embrace the sad, the weary, the worn out and the impossible.
To not wish to erase but to give space to both the light and the darkness.
And in all of this, the load lightens and the space is open to be filled.
The birth of a possibility is so much more than just one day.
It is an opportunity to move forward through the hard.
It teaches us to be brave.
It allows the magic of the season to be what it is with no apology or argument.
It fills the cracks with light.
And it welcomes all that is possible.