Saturday, December 24, 2011

...from then until now, from mourning to morning

Our friend, Dan, posted a similar 1953 pose of himself with Santa at Rich's Department Store in Atlanta. My photo was taken at Davidson's in Macon, Georgia, that same year. I didn't ask the bearded gentleman for anything...struck silent, a rare occurrence.

And now, another Christmas. One of life's mileposts. "Let's see.  Christmas 1953. Oh, yes, that's the year...." Fill in the blank. Someone got married. Had a baby. Bought a house. Died.

Christmas 2011: The year Bill and I got married. Saw the last of the combined brood graduate from college. Swam with sea turtles. Grieved with friends. Too many times. All of them gone far too soon. 

But the circle doesn't contract. It expands with each new relationship. Because Love doesn't die. We hug our close companions and cherish memories of those who are no longer with us. Not just those who have died, either. People move away but, in this era of social networking and smart phones, the connections can remain vital. Sometimes, though, paths diverge. Or one grows and the other remains static. The journey unfolds as it will.

Every step, every relationship has brought me closer to home. To the place inside myself that is authentic. I've been stuck, unstuck, stubborn, willing. You name it. Somehow, though, grace falls like manna in spite of me. Great heapings of grace and mercy that, at sixty, I cannot explain, attribute, or understand. I just say,"Thank you." Often. 

The little girl sitting mutely on Santa's lap still resides within me. I am every age I have ever been. And the magic of this season still amazes me. I can't explain this either. I brake for Christmas lights (only after checking the rear-view mirror, thank you). Smile at children waiting to see Santa. Sit in the dark with a candle and think of those who are absent. I am in awe, you see, of the miracle: a radical love bigger than my likes and dislikes, larger than dogma.

I live on a very small island in the middle of a vast, unknowable universe. With every decision, I choose. If nothing else, age suggests that I find what I seek. Oh, my dear neighbors, I am looking toward the light. Because I know that I can make a wilderness of a promised land.

If you are grieving, know that this present darkness will be transformed. You will be transformed. Minute by agonizing minute, then day by day. But for now, weep. In time, when you least expect it, in the oddest of circumstances, peace will come.  At a price, though. Not built on the shifting sands of fortune. But a peace between odd bedfellows: the inevitable suffering of life's dark times and the joy that comes in the morning. 

So glad that Christmas 2011 marks a year with all of you. Thank you for dropping in for a visit.

My friend, Carolynn, always signs her emails with "love and light." 
Joe Elmore's signature benedicttion, "Blessings!", has graced all our departures. 
I long ago conscripted these words. Originality is over-rated.

So to each of you, 
wherever you are,
whatever your circumstances,
I send you



Carole said...

Hello Celeste, and Merry Christmas to you and yours! Today is my 50th birthday and I have inevitably been reflecting on my life, all the ups and downs, the times full of joy and the desperately sad times. This is only the second birthday I have had to celebrate without my dear mum being here and I must confess to a few tears when I found myself alone for a short time today. However, once again your words seem to echo my own, and I choose to look towards the light and to allow the love surrounding me to transform me. Love, light and blessings to you my new friend.

Celeste said...

Carole, I love hearing from you. How wonderful to have this friendship. Perhaps we can meet someday but for now I am very grateful for the ether. I know that your Mum gave you wonderful memories. Blessings always, my YOUNG friend!