Monday, December 7, 2009

Unexpected Joy

Even though we all like to think of
the holidays as fun,
snowy-glittered days of hot chocolate
and glowing fires and children's laughter-
there is also that down time-
that place between celebration
and meditation
where we are truly alone.

Yet, we all need this space-
this stretching of our souls-
these quiet moments to reflect
and recharge.

I took my "alone time" on Saturday morning.

The week had been a scrapbook of
Christmas ornaments and grandchildren
and shopping and cooking and cleaning
and planning and doing and being
the Super Mom.

But, as I sat in the darkness of the
family room,
rolled into a flannel ball
in my favorite comfy chair,
I realized that I am no longer
excited by the season.

I realized that what magic
once had roots here,
now hovers like a kite
that begs for freedom.

I confessed to myself that
pretending it is
the most wonderful time of the year-
doesn't make it so.

Perhaps it was stress,
or weariness
or apprehension of failure.
Or maybe too many sweets,
too little sleep,
and not enough wine.

Whatever the reasons,
I was feeling a bit lost.
Totally consumed
by the days
that I have no control over.

I put on some soft Christmas music
and closed my eyes-
seeing quite clearly
the smiling faces of my children
as they leap-frogged over one another
to rip the wrapping from Santa's gifts-
as they giggled with glee
and played incessantly through
the night.

I still saw them in their "jammer bottoms"
and holiday slippers-
their candy cane sweetness...
their effervescent joy...

And like a film on fast forward,
I recalled Christmas trees of the past,
special gifts,
certain treats,
forgotten snowmen
and lost prayers.

A tear rolled down my cheek
as I sat in the darkness
and mourned times passing.

all of a sudden,
my husband came into the room-
appearing as a silhouette
against the dim light of the hallway.

He walked over to me
and held out his hand,
helping me up from my chair,
but not saying a word.

Although it was dark,
I saw his smile-
shining like a loving light
that captured my affection.

...And we began to dance.

A slow, sultry movement
in the center of the room-
the Christmas music
like a fading heart beat
around us-
hugging like young lovers
that had no fear of time.

And then just as quickly
as he appeared,
he left the room-
squeezing my hand
as though he understood
the images in my mind-
the quiet sorrow that
surrounded me.

That dance made all the difference.

Unexpected joy came over me.
A piece of magic was recaptured.
A reminder that what happens today
is what we should take time to enjoy.
That dwelling on the past-
or time-
only diminishes today's memories.

And, someday,
when I'm old and gray
and sitting alone in the darkness
at Christmas time-
I'll remember that dance.

And I will smile.