In my line of work, you experience death. We go on the death watch journey with a family as someone’s loved one goes into a decline. Or it’s an unexpected shock- and we must be the calm in their tumultuous storm of shock and grief.
I have answered the phone when someone calls with the news. I have sat and listened as a family sits and waits for their appointment with clergy to plan the funeral. And what I hear over and over again is:
Don’t waste a moment.
Tell everyone you love them.
Fill your days with things that bring you joy.
In a week that in our biz is filled with more tedious busy-ness and mind-numbing details than is the norm, it’s easy to forget those wise words. But this week was the perfect time for me to repeat the sage advice like a mantra as I drove to work each day.
For my children- they are ready to leap to the next adventure. Perhaps my concerns have some merit, but this is the time to fly. I have few regrets, but can look back and wonder how my life would have turned out if I had boldly picked choice A over choice B.
For myself- I’ve already started 2017 with a bang. Our radical lifestyle change has reaped many blessings and giving both of us an appreciation for another chance to turn the page and start something new.
As the grieving widower sat speaking quietly to us with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes,
We had a great life, but the last ten years was more than we were promised. And we did everything she wanted to do, and had no regrets. We loved, we played and we lived every moment.
It is the day before Christmas, and all through my house, the only creature stirring is my crazy cat.
It’s in this deep silence that I contemplate, the blessings that surround me this day.
The foggy skies wrap my house in stillness. The birds are quiet and the squirrels stay warm in their nests. The coffee pot burbles and ham sizzles; the grits create a sigh as they bubble on the stove.
I am grateful for feeding those at home today. Oldest son is already here, and the college girl has been home for a week. Husband will be working until late tonight, but for now he is enjoying a long winter’s nap.
I treasure my time to sit and write. To reflect on Christmas past, and anticipate this day. We will bake and watch Christmas movies, and enjoy a good dinner. We will dress up and make our way to the little church with its jeweled windows glowing. Fresh cedar greenery and wreaths hung with red bows surrounded by ruby colored Poinsettias will fill the space with beauty.
Families will greet one another, and we will sing all the beloved carols. We will light candles, and in their glow sing Silent Night.
We will drive by the lighted houses filled with decorations, slowing down to enjoy the spectacle. Back home in our pajamas, we will eat cookies and watch the Christmas Story again as we tell stories from our separate lives.
We will wait up until my husband comes in very late from the midnight service and then crawl off to bed. Santa no longer stops by this house, but there will be filled stockings in the morning, and just as eager as a child, the young adults will rub their eyes and thrust their hands into the depths to find out what goodies are inside.
And all of this reminds me that the magic of Christmas never dies.
Spending the month of November under the weather with one ailment after another (I won’t bore you with the gory details,) December is for catching up on weeks of interrupted sleep.
My dreams prior to waking have been an interesting series of unresolved conflict-revealing inner turmoil, unfinished business, and a recent visit with the past.
Each dream is very vivid and the details remain with me for hours after waking. I should be journaling about each dream, but I for some reason I don’t feel the need to dissect these dreams.
There seems to be a pattern as the dream subject has been something tucked into my subconscious. In each dream I am speaking up for what I want, call out an injustice, or put into words what has long been on my heart.
I fall into the category of believing dreams are the mind’s way of illuminating the shadows of your soul.
The message seems clear. It’s time to speak up, challenge what isn’t right and make peace with what isn’t in my control.
Listening is the theme of my online writing course this week. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
A few weeks ago I had a severe asthma attack and despite my body’s warnings I kept on working. The medication eventually healed my lungs, but my immune system suffered. I didn’t listen to my body’s signals and by Sunday I woke up with a splitting headache and a swollen face. A sinus infection finally got my attention. Take it easy my body pleaded. So I listened.
The body tells us plenty if we learn to heed its messages. I admit I often ignore the signals until I am forced to stop and take care of myself. Left over from the days when I was the only parent home taking care of my kids, I soldiered on, no matter how ill I was.
It’s time to listen. To my body, to my gut, and to others. So the listening portion of this writing assignment is my wake-up call.
The first suggestion is to sit quietly for five minutes with your eyes closed and then write down what you heard.
Taking this week to rest and heal, I am taking time to listen to my body and to the messages that come with deep listening to what I hear in the silence.