Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

A Deeper, More Aware Holiday

This year we won’t kill one of the beautiful pines on our property so we can drape it with colored lights and sentimental decorations to delight us. All the trees will remain safely where they are. My husband and I chose to use the lights around our living room, instead, to bring bling to the silence. There will be no children of any age to “ooh” and “ahh” over a Christmas tree. There will be no grandchildren. This year they’ll have to discover what Christmas is without most of the games and laughter and hugs—substituting a virtual gathering for the real ones of the past.

We’ll all investigate what Christmas (or whichever holidays you’ll miss) is and who we are without the trimmings or guests. We’ll find out who we are and who we miss most. We’ll discover what we believe without some of the traditional rituals. Maybe it was time to find out.

I’ve spoken or exchanged emails with friends in different places on the globe—those who are usually near and those who are inevitably far. Love is stronger now that we can’t take one another for granted. The recent past taught us that life can change very quickly—economically, physically, and emotionally.  Suddenly we see clearly. The greeting cards we write or receive carry notes that feel more intense because we don’t know if we’ll be celebrating all the same relationships next year. “We hope this finds you well…” We hope this finds you present. We hope we’ll be here to find you at all.

Although these are not frivolous times, they are moving times. We can feel one another on a deeper level than usual. Our friends and family are more precious than ever. Those of us who still have homes and are free from want realize how fortunate we are—not because we’re better than those who are struggling to survive. We aren’t better or even different—just fortunate. We wonder what more we can do to ease the hurting around us.

Some of the silliness and mercenary-ness of our traditional celebrations is exposed for being out of place and plastic. Some of the profundity of what we’re really celebrating feels raw and present. I watched one of the marathon Christmas romance movies on TV the other day, and THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, the latest Star Wars film. Both reminded me that smiles and love and friendships and community aren’t trivial. They are the core of our lives that won’t be cancelled by COVID-19 or political hostilities or loneliness. We will work to preserve them even in isolation. They are the horizon we seek. 

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