‘Tis the Season

The marsh grass is the color of wheat, now.

Little did I know, that when we bought this house, the lowcountry marsh behind it would change color with the seasons. I have a desk pointed in that direction, so I can study the panorama and think deep thoughts as I write. Or think nothing, which seems to be my default position these days.

My creativity has leeched away temporarily. There’s a lot on my mind, but this week, the week of Christmas, I’m pushing it all away. I’m choosing to focus on the holiday. All is calm, all is bright, joy to the world, amen.

The holidays are never calm in my house, since there are multiple adult kids and families to consider, so it’s a choice to remain calm. My mind goes back through the years. I think the only ‘Silent Night’ Christmas I remember was the Christmas I’d just gotten divorced and the absence of stress and relationship struggles made all the difference. I still remember that time fondly, sounds strange, I know, but a horrible marriage does not a calm and silent Christmas make. But the peace…it felt incredible.

Lately, I’ve been fighting for peace and sanity amidst the pandemic and the voices that fan terror and strife from the media, which I no longer trust to tell the truth. Fighting for sanity amidst the changing landscape of shopping and planning events and interacting in general as a society. I think we can all agree, it’s been a tough year, and we’ve been infected with more than a virus. Tensions are at an all-time high, and it’s harder than ever to choose ‘calm’ or ‘peaceful’ or ‘optimistic’ but we must. I can either give in to fear or choose faith. I can let my feelings overtake me, and drown in depression; or choose hope. I can become angry and tense when things don’t go my way, or I can let go and choose love. Love is the highest road, the best road. Always. Even when we disagree, we can do it patiently. Kindly.

So…I’ve determined to love even when I have to grit my teeth. I’m choosing to remain silent when I want to blow up at someone. (Not always successful here, but I’m definitely trying.) I’m choosing to focus on the birth of Christ and God’s incredible gift to humanity. I’m excited about seeing the ‘Bethlehem Star’, which happened with a spontaneous gathering of neighbors, complete with binoculars and telescope. A magical moment, and a time for quiet speculation. Hope in the midst of the storm. Light in the darkness. Reassurance that as a country, we will move on, we will learn from 2020 – the year of radical unmet expectations – and our country will not give in to despair and contention. I’m letting petty differences and the fear I’ve picked gifts that my loved ones won’t like slide away. I’m determined to ignore a messy kitchen and an even messier life…for now. I’ll pick this stuff up again next week, but I want a timeout. I’m forcing a timeout. At least mentally.

My zillion gifts I bought for kids and grandkids and husband have been Amazoned (this should be a verb now, right?) to their destinations, and the rest wait patiently under my tree for the parts of my family that will be here. I have an entire week on my calendar that has nothing on it except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My cats have not ripped up the gifts and the tree, for once, so that is something to celebrate! A small thing, but still. Notable.

Like the marsh grass in winter, my outlook lies dormant and devoid of color. 2020 has been a long, rough season. But like all seasons, it hasn’t come to stay. It will pass.

Though we may not feel it or see it right now, we are passing through. Spring is on the way!