The calendar tells me that Christmas is upon us but that’s about it. None of the other cues that I’m used to are beckoning me to get into the spirit.
So I decided this week on Sunday that I would put on some Christmas music and put up the handful of decorations that I selected to bring with us. If you’ve been reading from the beginning you’ll remember that this adventure began last year when we were putting up decorations. Dave and I had a conversation about maybe re-opening the idea of teaching in another country, sometime in the next few years (this has been a recurring theme in our lives). When it came time to put the decorations away we were talking about doing it THIS year and I was putting a few special decorations aside just in case we would be shipping them somewhere…anywhere…no idea where.
And here we are full circle. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already and at the same time it’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been a year. So much has happened.
So Sunday…I put on some Christmas carols and was going to quickly wash the dishes before putting up some decorations. Half way through the sink full I was in a puddle of tears. If it was a record player you would have heard that familiar sound of the needle being ripped off the vinyl. I stopped the music and looked at the box of decorations. What was I doing to myself and why?
It may seem odd to many of you (I’m absolutely sure it does) but in a way these are the things I was looking for in a big move like this. I’ll admit, I’m not enjoying this one, but the growth that comes from having your worldview, traditions, beliefs, emotions, assumptions and prejudices challenged is so valuable to me. There’s something about upending everything (almost everything) that makes you take a look at life with new eyes. I think people who’ve suffered life threatening diseases experience this – and since I didn’t want to sign up for that…!
I will miss my children and my family and friends a lot this Christmas but I’ve decided I do NOT need to torture myself with sentimentality. At the same time, I would like to dig deeper into the meaning of the holiday. I would like to recognize it as a day…a day…and I will honour all the things that make the day so deeply meaningful. Things like love, connection, faith, giving, surprising and being together and I will look for other ways to celebrate the holiday in that spirit.
My sister-in-law who has lived in Central America for more than 30 years now has the Christmas spirit triggered by the migration of the parrots flying over head. I don’t intend on spending 30 years here but I’ve decided I’ll watch for new traditions and triggers to come up organically. Mostly, I’ll be holding it together.
We have decided to send Honour home for Christmas. Since our other girls are out west and in different provinces it’s already going to be weird – why not make it just a bit weirder. So none of us will be together this Christmas, except Dave and I and we’ll be on a beach in Sri Lanka.
Sunday was the first week of advent when the candle of Hope or was lit in many churches around the world, and usually in my home. This year, I’m just going to maintain an attitude of hope and wait for my “parrots” to migrate.
Can we say it just one more time?? Thank God for Skype!! (And also for good neighbours who know how it feels and when a good hug is in order).