Its that time of year again – time to say goodbye to 2015 and look ahead to 2016 and all the growth, changes, and challenges it will bring. How does this keep happening so fast? Why do the years fly by at increasingly alarming rates, refusing to slow down, even for a second, and let us catch our breath? It’s slightly terrifying, this march-turned-sprint of time.
I keep seeing the ads for organization, planners, courses on goal-setting and finances and career advancement. I am watching those around me or on social media pick their word for next year (there are even stamped bracelets or pieces of jewelry you can buy so you can wear your word as a constant reminder). Normally, I’m all over this.
I just can’t bring myself to go there. Not yet. Not right now. Maybe I’m lazy. I’m definitely unmotivated. I know there are things I want to accomplish, and areas I need to improve on. I’ve got to get better organized, with sharper goals and detailed agendas. I haven’t even started a list of words to narrow down. I have no desire to do so.
Because I’ve spent the past week watching movies, cracking jokes, eating poorly, building toy houses, chasing pets, going on random outings, avoiding this blog and all writing projects, making popcorn (a lot…and often), singing silly songs, reading stories, staying up too late, and marvelling at the freedom of an unfettered schedule.
I don’t even know where my to-do notebook is (sadly, I’ve surpassed the simplicity of a list; it takes a three-ring binder now).
This holiday season was definitely one of my favorites, and the more I reflect on it, the more true that sentiment becomes. We hosted multiple Christmas celebrations in our home (which is pretty much par for the course), but didn’t travel, so things seemed less chaotic. Because of schedules, the fact that we had to plan more gatherings meant they were smaller….and while we are all over the more the merrier, it was kind of a nice change, making the season seem gentler somehow. We’ve spent more time together, just the five of us at home, and that was needed as well.
It’s been beautifully peaceful, and relatively drama-free. That’s always nice.
Lest I seem to be waxing overly poetic or painting a scene that seems more idyllic than it really is, rest assured I’m not trying to sell you a picture of Hallmark commercial perfection. We’ve had to swallow our share of the bitter with the sweet. The holidays still feel incomplete with the absence of my grandmother, and I shed more than a few tears at that void this season, as I’m sure I will continue to do for the rest of my life. We had moments of mourning – our beautiful youngest “brother” (so close a family friend, we’ve always considered ourselves to be siblings) would have been 28 this Christmas were it not for the car accident that took him three years ago; our dear new friends left our home Christmas day to visit their son’s grave, a brave Marine who lost his life in the line of duty 18 months ago. We experienced a painful family estrangement that none of us saw coming, and doesn’t look to resolve any time soon. We’ve got a kid on antibiotics and a septic system that imploded.
It’s not all glamour over here.
In spite of it all, however, I stand by my earlier statement. The brief moments of pain have only served to accent the appreciation I have for the magic of the season. We’ve gotten to meet and make new friends, experience memories in the making, and see different faces around our holiday table.
Our children are safe and healthy and happy in their home and with their family. The peals of laughter coming from every corner as a result of the antics of our new kitten have made the chaos of another pet a non-issue.
Their joy at having loved ones surrounding them, and at being tucked within the bounds of the security that brings has refreshed me in ways I didn’t know I needed.
Every year, I find new facets of the Christmas story to learn from or focus on…and this year is no different. I keep getting stuck on a simple phrase in Luke. Of course, it involves our girl, Mary.
Luke 2:19 – But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
I’ve been doing a lot of pondering myself. And the more I ponder, the more I find to treasure. It’s a fabulous way to wind down the year, and I am grateful beyond the telling for this reality.
I may not know exactly what growth and changes will make my top priority file, and I may not have a word of the year picked, but I do know what I want to hold on to….and how I want my family to feel about and with me. The fun and the love and the joy have to stay. Period.
And so I think I’ll decide, at least for now, not to let the what-ifs of tomorrow steal thunder from the blessings of today. I think I’ll rest here a while, in this place, with my thoughts and musings and gratitude. I think I’ll live in the moment, these last days of 2015, and be present and engaged with those around me.
It’s a simple goal. I don’t even have to write it down.
Solidarity, sisters. There’s still room for bonding in this goodbye.