(i love how happy that third king is, btw)
This time of year always sets me to thinking about what I believe in a spiritual sense because Christmas is so full of Spirit.
I’ve taken many different winding paths on my spiritual journey.
When it comes to the great beyond the right here and right now, I throw up my hands. I came to the realization that it is too big for me to comprehend, so I am not going to try to bother to name it. When I think about God, I kind of just imagine a great big happy loving swirl in the sky, or the sound of the wind through the trees or the feel of sunshine on my face.
I gave up on bowing to the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost a long, time ago.
But I love Jesus.
That’s right. I said Jesus.
I turned my back on Jesus when he was connected with words that were punctuated with the word “acceptance” but really were all about the word “exclusion”.
And I don’t really think that’s very Jesuslike at all.
But I love that little baby Jesus. The one lying in the manger with the promise of hope and love to the world. The one that just solidifies my belief that we are all born good with the capacity to do great things. The one that grew and taught and spread the word about loving each other as we want to be loved. Jesus to me symbolizes what is right with humankind, our capacity for kindness and love.
We are going back to church for Christmas Eve. I have made random visitations to my home church, the church of my youth. My children want to go to church. So we are going. The children’s service. To listen to the story of how the baby Jesus came to be. I love Christmas Eve church, more so the midnight service, with it’s hymns and it’s silence at midnight, the ritual of hearing the liturgy sung, the familiar words, but I have little ones, so we will opt for the earlier version.
It’s strange that it’s some of the words of the Christian faith that ruffle my feathers, but at the same time it is the pattern and repetition of those words that brings me peace. So I am looking forward to sitting there in those same familiar pews. Darkness just beginning to fall on us. Saying those familiar lines, even if I do (hmm, hmm, hmm) through a few of them. The girls listening to the story, literally carrying their piece of the story to the altar, then coming back to settle in between Ed and I.
Because he will be there too. The four of us there in the pew. Which is also familiar and odd at the same time. You see we grew up in that church together. We met for the first time in the parking lot at fourteen and sixteen years old. Snuck in more than a few kisses behind the adult’s backs on youth group trips. Then we both got married through that church, but to other people. Now we will return there together this year, my sixteen-year old boyfriend now somehow transformed into my forty-year old one who lives 2,000 miles away, but comes home for the holidays.
So I’ve made some peace with Jesus, and with church, and with boyfriends who live too far away, because none of them are perfect, but in the end, to me,they all just feel like home.
i have been stressing out about Christmas. if you know someone who is not stressing about Christmas, even if they claim to have it all done or perfect, please introduce me because i would like to verify that it’s real and not drug induced. the funny thing is today i stopped being stressed about Christmas.
today i spent with a whole lot of people who showed me a whole lot of love. i really, really take for granted how many souls out there care about me. from a one year old to an eighty year old, i am blessed with people who smile when they see me. you know when you walk up to someone and they smile and are legitimately happy to see you for no other reason but to see you? i wish i could bottle up that feeling and carry it around with me to hand out at random.
i am damn lucky for sure.
people love you because they love you. i realized this this year. (and i hate when the same word falls together in a sentence, but i’m leaving it). confidence is a tough thing to come by sometimes. it is far too easy to become your own worst enemy, only see your faults. i love the people i do because i see their souls shine. i don’t care that they are a little or a lot overweight. i don’t care that they have messy hair, or a crooked tooth. i go with their shortcomings and celebrate their goodness.
i am known to not notice things. a haircut, or dye job. what color your eyes are. one time my ex-husband shaved his goatee and i didn’t notice for three days. maybe i’m just unobservant, but maybe that means i see more to you than what is at first apparent. and maybe you see me that same way too. maybe you don’t care that my hair is messy, or i have age spots forming on my nose, or my middle is a little squishy. maybe you just like me because i’m, well, me. messy but filled up with love.
at thirty eight years old i was scared to death to think about having a first date again. on my last first date i was twenty-one years old. take out a photo of me when i was twenty-one, full of fire and energy and youth and beauty and take a look at me now, care-worn and plum tuckered out. that’s a little scary. what i found though was that somehow, somewhere along the way i have found my beauty in a whole new way. it’s the kind that comes with lessons learned and the appreciation of so much more of what you can take from this life. my first date involved my daughters first and resulted in my youngest getting to hold his hand before me (always sacrificing for the children). i have waited three years for this first date and i couldn’t have picked a better person to share it with. because this one, he sees that beauty that i see. he sees my soul shine. i’m just glad i got to find it first.
I need to decide what to write. I keep writing dribs and drabs here and there. On the laptop. On this computer, in a half a dozen random notebooks. I have a memo I wrote on my cell phone in the morning when there was no paper handy. I send an email with writing in it every day Monday-Friday to my writing buddy. I’ve always written best in short bursts. Phrases, poems, little bits, but I want to collect them up, make some sense of them
I have pointed next year, 2011, as my year to focus on my writing and photography.
So far my unplanned, five-year plan could be summed up this way:
2007: Cry, cry again, cry some more. Feel sad and helpless, then go cry again.
2008: Get the hell out of the marriage.
2009: Recover from the divorce. Get healthy and whole mentally.
2010: Discover who I am. Clean out house. Lose 30 pounds.
So that’s it. 2011 will be the year of putting into action the things I identified this year that I feel driven and passionate about.
But I need organization. I NEED organization, otherwise, I’ll continue to float around here all willy-nilly. I would love to profess to be organized and I try. I have calendars and lists, and spots for things, but really, when it comes down to it “willy-nilly” may as well be my middle name. Because instead of doing those things on the calendar and the lists, I’m sitting here doing this AND it’s 8:26 p.m. AND I haven’t eaten AND I will end up staying up WAY TOO LATE again.
So….to organize. My life seems to be on a pretty good trajectory right now. There are still a few unknowns. Oh hell, there’s a lot of big unknowns, so I need a guide, a map of sorts. I did a VERY GOOD JOB (insert gold star here) of identifying what I wanted in my life this year, and surprisingly a lot of things have fallen into place. Now I need to walk further down the path.
I think more than anything this year what I learned most was about loving myself, being grateful for what I have and not being afraid to reach for what I want.
I think next year. I’m just going to stay focused on documenting it.
Just now it has been too long since I have been here. I have been busy.
Just now happiness seems to have made an entrance into my life and made itself at home.
Just now my children are screaming like banshees upstairs, dressing for our annual trip to The Nutcracker.
Just now the wind is blowing a chill through everything around us.
Just now my Thanksgiving tableware is still on the kitchen table and the dining room table is covered in Christmas.
Just now I have the Pandora holiday station on.
Just now my heart is twelve times more full than it was six months ago.
Just now I realize again that I have the most amazing family ever.
Just now, my jeans, two sizes smaller than the beginning of the year are already falling off me.
Just now there are stuffed animals gathered around a game of LIFE in my living room waiting for the girls to return.
Just now, I am tired from talking until 1am on the phone, but thankful for cell phones and unlimited texting.
Just now, I realize I have been ignoring all of you, my friends.
Just now, I realize I haven’t typed here because I wasn’t sure what to say.
Just now, there will be four stockings here this year instead of three.
Just now, I realize this man who has walked into our lives and stolen all our hearts, will have to leave again after Christmas.
Just now, Colorado feels so far away.
Just now, I don’t care. I’m happy to be in love.