December 30th

Almost.

The year sighs, breathing its last.

It knows that the time to go

is close,

one breath away

in a life span that was gone

before we knew what to do with it.

Promises were made

when it was born,

Of better days ahead.

Of achievements,

mountains to climb.

Some were won,

Other dreams stacked neatly aside.

Like chairs at the end of the night,

cleaning up after the show

Tossed aside,

Not yet over,

But already replaced

in the hearts and minds

of those who dwell within,

ready to make the same promises,

whisper sweet nothings

as the next contender rises

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

So I finally watched the latest Star Wars.

I always like to give new movies a few weeks to cool off. I hate the press of the crowd and the feeling of claustrophobia that comes with masses of humans all jostling to get to the same end point.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, given the mixed reviews of late.

People crying out that the director murdered their childhood.

That they killed the series.

Others describing a more mature focus for the movie as the natural progression of a story.

Even some of the actors expressing their disappointment.

So I went into it not expecting to like or hate it. A blank slate, ready to make my own opinion.

As a blockbuster, it had extravagant special effects as expected, although perhaps not as many as usual- I couldn’t really tell.

What stayed with me was the message about the force, and the Jedi, as a religion.

How all religions have their dogma, their good and bad. Balance. Light and dark.

This movie may not stick in my head they way some others have over the last year, but I would say it is worth watching, even if it’s just for the message of hope in desperate situations.

Even if it’s for the idea that god (the force) is all around us

Cozy

A cold front has crossed my path, bringing shivers to my soul.

Slivers of ice drift across the road, hiding the road like it hides the memory of warmth form the summer so long ago

And yet,

When I arrive to a home full of golden warmth and light,

Laughter and hugs greet me,

Happy faces full of life.

“This is where my moods come from” says the oldest as I rest my cheek upon her hair, smiling against the absurdity and honesty of a child’s wisdom.

Tucked in my nest, cozy with my little chicks, we snuggle in for the night,

Warm inside our own summertime, where the snow and ice can not come in.

Adrift

Today I spent only part of the day at work.

But I must confess, it felt like so much more.

To hold the hand of someone when they’ve lost the love of their life, to just be there, is one of the most difficult parts of my job.

Sometimes I feel like giving bad news is the worst part. Telling someone they have an expiry date.

We all know we won’t live forever, but having a time on it is so jarring, like a movie ending on a cliffhanger.

We are left feeling cheated, angry. How dare things finish before we had a chance to be ready?

We rail against the fates, against God, against the person who told us.

But somehow, it’s easier to bear when it’s about us.

When it’s a loved one whose time has run out, the devastation can be overwhelming.

Like a ship buffeted by waves, it seems as though the storm will never end. That we will be overwhelmed forever in our loss.

But slowly, over days, months, or years, the storm calms, the waves die down.

While we are still adrift and occasionally faced with a mouth full of water, we can stay above sea level more often than remain below the meniscus of our grief.

Today, the storm raged hard.

I could only offer my hand, and my heart, as a small life raft, and hope that the waves wouldn’t be too painful for too long.

Aftermath

December 26th.

The day after the ribbons and bows have been swept away and the leftovers nearly stacked in containers in the fridge.

Like any big event, the aftermath is sometimes uncomfortable. I have a proclivity for introspection, and find myself wondering why the feeling of a balloon bursting so often follows the build up to the day itself.

I think for me, nothing can ever compare to the wonder in my head. How amazing that world is, and how real this one can be.

Not only majestic, but also painful.

Why must we feel the peaks and valleys so strongly? Instead of living life at a comfortable 72 and sunny, we are struck with the minus 30 and plus 40 of it all.

The grief and the joy.

In order to appreciate the happiness, we must know how sorrow feels.

And while Christmas and Boxing Day are but a small example of what I’m trying to say, it’s a decent comparison.

To know the good, we must also know the bad, balance must be kept to truly understand the difference.

Or so I ponder, full of stuffing and tired from the drive home.

December 25th

I’m lying in bed, stuffed to the gills, wondering how it’s even possible to eat as many items as we did tonight.

It reminds me of a satire piece in a medical journal a few years ago about the “extra stomach” for desserts that appears, referred to as “the pot au creme.”

While it may not be a real thing, part of me believes in the existence as when supper was over, I managed to eat another thousand calories worth of treats.

I’d say it was impressive, but I don’t feel impressed at the moment, just uncomfortably full.

But food woes aside, as I’m sure many people have celebrated in a similar fashion, what I really cherish at this time of year is the coming together of family and friends.

How we make time to see each other, even when we live far apart. How generations come together, and work and laugh over shared food and experiences.

Other times of year can be every bit as wonderful, but Christmas has a true magic that other holidays don’t.

Beyond the gifting, beyond the eating, beyond the surface glitter and decorations.

The heart and soul of the holiday is love. Just love. Love for a baby born to a poor couple, without even a roof over their heads. Love for those who travel far, to give the gift of company to those long absent. Love for those who care for us and for those we’ve never met.

At this time of year, I remember what the season is about, and I think of all of those less fortunate and count my blessings.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, no matter how you celebrate or if you celebrate, because we can always have more of the love behind the holiday.

Communal space

I lay in the bed I remember from so many years ago, listening to the soft sounds of my little one falling asleep.

He went quietly tonight, without a whimper after becoming more and more wound up playing games with Pop-Pop.

It was as if all the batteries ran out at once, and he gave a quiet sigh and rolled over.

It’s not often I share a communal sleeping space with my children, having worked very hard to keep them sleeping in a separate room for my chances of sleep to be greater.

But on vacation, I’m okay with it.

It’s nice to hear the ones you love sleeping peacefully. It fills my heart with so much warmth it could melt and roll right off the bed.

And while it only happens on rare occasions, each time I think how amazingly lucky I am.

I know that he will likely wake me up far earlier than I’d like, and that his snoring may keep my up, but for now, the velvet of the dark holds the sound of life.

Next to me.

Journey Home

The road is long

Torn between the warmth ahead

And the comfort behind

It stretches out interminably

And yet

What lies ahead is worth the journey

Home to my youth

Home to family

The struggle is half the enjoyment

The destination sweeter

For the effort required to get there.

The magic of the season

When I sat down to rest for the first time tonight, I was struck by how miraculous life is.

It’s been a long week of sickness, worrying about a few people who aren’t doing as well as I’d like, wishing I had the same kind of powers the people in my books do.

I could heal with a touch and never have to watch someone slowly fade away.

I could do everything, keep people well indefinitely, but I don’t have that power.

I do have the power of my mind and my heart, the power to explain and discuss. I have the willingness to try and the backbone to stand tall when I least want to.

And I have the privledge to watch those around me move through life on their own steam.

My son, learning how to express himself. My daughters, forming their own opinions about the world and learning to share them.

My family and friends, going about their lives and allowing me a place of my own, close to them.

My patients, trusting in me to do my best, believing that I have the power to help them.

Life is a miracle everyday, but especially right now. This time of year reminds me that we are all born into this world as the most amazing gift, and we celebrate one very special child who came to save us all. Who was given to us by a being who we can’t begin to understand, to be a light that would guide us to a better world.

Each of us can be a miracle to someone, every day of the year. We just have to start by believing in ourselves and the people around us.

What a powerful and magical world it could be.

Purpose

Pulled towards the light

Caught in a tractor beam

Each step one towards

That which is inevitable

A calling like none other

Driven to duty

Determined and unyielding

Every day another day closer

Infinity awaits