Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fourth week of Advent - Love

Winter solstice 
Darkness falling fast
The shortest day
The longest night

We face the darkness
stringing hope
  on branches and wire frames,
along the rooftops.

  Evergreen indoors
electric Yule
candles of hope and peace, 
joy and love

 We live
these December days, 
holding the darkness,
keeping the light. 



Every year I do something totally decadent during the holidays. I take a restorative yoga class at Holy Cow. This is not a workout, at least not in the traditional, Type A western style.  It’s not hard. You basically show up and get pillows, bolsters and blankets and get in restorative poses that are held a deliciously long time.

This year the teacher reads from a meditation entitled Sabbath Time by Susan McHenry.

 “One thing done in peace 
will most likely be better
 than 10 things done in panic. 
I am not a hero if I deny rest; 
I am only tired.”
I’m liking this teacher, I think.   

Before I became a single parent, I was good about getting things done. Now I go to bed every night with items on my A list undone. I do triage every day on the most pressing needs. At home I have a beautiful tree with lights and one lone ornament. I got interrupted, and haven’t returned to it. I’m waiting to see if the boys notice. If they don’t, it’ll save me the time of taking them down. Sad, I know.
Susan McHenry would understand though, as does my friend Megan Fink, who let me photograph her in perfect repose during Queen’s pose at the end of class. Our teacher reminds us that breath and slowing down creates inner space, space for love and good will for all men.

I drive home nicer to people in traffic. I notice the stars in the sky. The boys jump up and down to see me as I walk in the door.

I ask them when they want to decorate the tree.



There are times (more often than I'd like) when loneliness and self-doubt overwhelm me and I feel unloved. At such moments, I reach for the Happy Thoughts Box.  Since I was a teenager, I've been filling the box with things that are for me tangible reminders of love -- drawings done for me by children I babysat, birthday cards from friends and relatives, what's left of the balloon bouquet coworkers surprised me with on my last day at a former job, cassette tapes my little brother and I made when we were very young, letters of encouragement from pastors and teachers, and much more.  

In recent years, it is overflowing.  I may need a second box.  That's a lot of love!  In a way, Jesus in the manger was like the reminders in my Happy Thoughts Box.  Those who could see and touch him had flesh and blood proof of God's love.  The beauty and providence of creation all around them testified to that already.  But in Jesus, God showed a love that was willing to enter our dangerous world as we all do, in the vulnerable form of a baby.  What a gift!  It is a thought expressed beautifully in a French translation of the carol Silent Night: "The mystery foretold is accomplished.  This Infant asleep on the hay IS infinite Love."


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to each of you for the thought-provoking, heart-touching reminders of what truly matters, what really endures amidst the crazy busy-ness of this season. I am grateful for the gift that each of you is to me and honored to be included as your friend!