Growing up, my family adhered to ages-old traditions of celebrating Swedish Christmas from December 13th through January 13th. I never questioned it. That’s who we were and that’s how it was. We celebrated life and love and loved ones around those trees. My Mom carefully placed the hundred-year-old ornaments from Sweden near the top where the kids and enthusiastic cats “hunting in the wild” of our tree branches couldn’t reach. There were more than a few birthdays of mine on the 15th of January that included a Christmas tree.
As you can imagine, though, by that second week in January, our poor tree was dropping its needles and long-suffering after a month of standing tall and strong in a house with the furnace on and a fire going.
By the time we managed to drag that poor tree out each year, it was so painful to touch those branches and, oh, how they scratched! The needles fell like rain and we were still getting poked by the occasional rogue needle, stubborn in the carpet, long into Spring.
My parents are gone now and, when I moved into my condo, friends gifted me a lovely lit tree that I pull out each Christmas and plug in and enjoy just the same.
It doesn’t hurt.
I still honor my parents and our heritage in personal ways, in my heart, from the beginning of Swedish Christmas until the last but it is so apparent to me that…
When we drag the past on for too long and into a future it was not meant for, it hides and it waits and it pokes and it hurts.
This New Year’s morning is mild. Right smack dab in the middle of winter, we here in Michigan are enjoying beautiful sunshine and are looking forward to temps near 50 tomorrow.
It is a new year. A new year!!!
I am giddy with this extraordinary gift given again-a new empty slate upon which I will create the next year of my life.
As we get older, it becomes so glaringly clear how precious time is. Time. Sweet time.
Some, I imagine, like George Michael and Carrie Fisher, thought there was so much more of it left. Others, stricken with illness or dire prognoses, understand how it is now counted with a different perspective or in smaller measures of years, or in months, or even in breaths.
We are so often careless with this treasure. We waste time. We lose time. We kill time. We fill it with people we don’t love and in jobs we can’t stand and we note that years fly by unremarkably. Sometimes without an earmark. Without a difference.
My wish for everyone this new year is always the same: good health. With good health, we are free and able to mold and shape and fill and celebrate our time. Our particular time.
This go around, maybe we can figure out the parts of our lives that are like those poking pine needles and stop dragging them into a new year again and again when they are best left to the past: relationships that worked better back then, traditions that fit better then, perspectives and beliefs and opinions that thrived in a world we don’t see outside our windows now.
Maybe it’s time to plug in and light up better solutions and better strategies so that we actually enjoy this gift we’ve given. Our time.
It’s a new year. It’s a clean calendar. It’s a blank slate. Most of us will return again a year from now and we will know if we chose to spend more of our precious time with people, in jobs and doing things we simply don’t like, love or want anymore. If we chose to simply keep slogging, keep complaining, keep hating, keep dreading, keep dragging dead trees behind us…
Or did we choose, finally, to really hold that time up precious and close this year? Did we choose, at every turn, to share it with people we love and enjoy? Did we give parts of it to fun-seeking adventures, new learning opportunities, great relationship and neighborhood and planet and people-saving projects, and sweet moments of love and of healing and of grace?
Did we make time and find time and give time so that we actually enjoy our lives?
Let’s choose that. :)))))