Tag Archives: Christmas

By Myself

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Self-reliance.
Without my husband there to help,
getting a Christmas tree
seemed like a daunting task.
I cursed the tradition
as I arrived on the lot,
and inwardly resented
the happy couples tying their trees
on the roofs of their vehicles,
cheerfully chatting, 
working together,
getting it done together.
But I had help too.
Two young men put the tree on the roof,
and I figured out the ratchet straps
to secure the tree (mostly).
Back home I even managed to carry
that seven foot tall
fragrant Frasier fir
inside my house
AND set it on the tree stand,
by myself.
Someday, one day,
I may find a new love
who will delight in accompanying me
on Christmas tree expeditions…
Until then,
can I love the one in me
who was strong enough to get it done
all by myself?

Circles of Quiet Joy

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I search everywhere for a gift,
just something, something
so that I don’t show up
empty-handed.
Then I remember
the real gift cannot be given
or taken away.
The real gift
comes from
an inextinguishable source.
The real gift
doesn’t change hands,
it changes hearts.
We all have this gift,
and if we could really see it,
we wouldn’t
be running frantically to the store…
We’d sit in circles
of quiet joy,
the light of infinity
mirrored in one another’s eyes.

Wholly Dazed

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Don’t get me wrong,
it’s not that I hate Christmas…
It’s just that it is dead to me now.
The lights, the trees, the carols,
stepping into the home
of my son’s kindergarten friend,
seeing their happy Christmas
taking shape in their happy home,
and inwardly bemoaning
the shapelessness of my Christmas,
now that it’s dead.
Disintegration.
A marriage, a holiday, a life,
all falling apart.
Dead things decay;
particles break down
and return to the earth.
New life springs up
and eases the memory of death.
Will this happen for me?
Can I hope for this much?

Hang Ups

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Years ago
his mother made
the cutest Christmas stockings
for all of us,
a little family of stockings
with all of our names
that always looked so cheerful
hanging up.
This year he asked
Should I hang yours up?
And I said No.
How can I face
that happy little family
of four
when my real life family
is… no more?
Now I’m sad
seeing just three stockings hanging up
where before there were four.
Ah, I should just get over myself.
It’s a stocking.
I could just hang it up.
Why all these hang ups?

 

PS I actually fantasized about asking his mother if she wanted my stocking back, being that it’s handmade and all and I kind of can’t look at it any more without sobbing.  I pictured myself saying something like, “So I can just pry the letters of my name off, I’ll send it back to you, and you can keep it safe until he gets remarried.  Then you can put his next wife’s name on it.  I’m sure she’ll love it.

I of course didn’t do that.  High fives!  The love that I still have for the woman far outweighs the satisfaction I would’ve felt at being so outrageous.  Plus, with no one there to photograph or film her reaction, what’s the point?

Down

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Down.
Of course I always was
at this time of year,
because of the absence of light,
because of the cold,
because of the way
the sun sets when I’m not ready.
But this year,
the Christmas decorations
are bringing me down too.
The Christmas carols
are making me cry
instead of sing.
I feel sad looking at my children.
I feel sad about everything.
I never knew something
that always brought such joy
could bring the sting of sadness
over and over and over again.
But I guess that this is how it goes
when home doesn’t feel like home,
when your husband isn’t a husband,
when your life isn’t what
you thought it would be.
Still, there’s something about the holidays
that makes this worse.
Is it the outward cheer
that throws my inner desolation
into such sharp relief?
Every time I see a Christmas tree
I want to weep.
Sometimes I do.
Please God, let me make it through.

A Time for Celebration

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I gave so much today.
Why am I thinking about
what I didn’t give,
what I could’ve given?
Why, oh my mind,
do you want to remember
what you think wasn’t right,
how you think I failed,
how I have fallen short?
Ultimately, the spirit of celebration
is embodied in gentle little pauses
where we drop the thinking,
look around,
and see what is.
In this clear space of no mind,
reality opens up
and we see, feel, hear, touch, taste
so much more
than we normally would.
Joy is the natural result
of such open, clear awareness.
If I could find a way
to cultivate more presence
THAT would be a reason for celebration.
And, I suppose I can pause now
and celebrate the awareness I already have.
Instead of strengthening the habit
of believing that I have so far to go,
maybe I could for once
celebrate this place,
this arrival here.
This now–
the only place,
the only time
for celebration.

Christmas Tonglen Meditation

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The children are sleeping,
the presents placed strategically,
our bellies are full,
we lie in our beds warm and safe.
What an enchanted life this is!
On the medium of the breath
I send out the aspiration
that all beings
know safety and comfort,
that all beings be nourished,
that all beings experience the joy
of giving and receiving.
Some of the most important gifts
are the ones we cannot see or touch;
they are felt in the heart.
On the medium of the breath
I send out the aspiration
that all beings be loved
that all beings feel a sense of belonging
that all beings experience
true happiness, true fulfillment.
Breathing in I feel gratitude
breathing out I give thanks.
May all beings experience peace.