It is Christmas Day here in the Flint Hills of Kansas. After the big snow of a few weeks ago, Kansas has volleyed back with 53 degrees at 9:30 a.m. December 25. Izzy and I are thrilled (despite the photo).
Soon, we’ll meet up with friends to climb nearby Mt. Mitchell and bark greetings at the rare winter warm sun. The Hamburg team has checked in and we face-timed while I sat on my stoop drinking coffee in my fuzzy bathrobe and Izzy raced up and down the stairs while fetching her favorite stick. The southern team is probably still making merry this Christmas morning with nieces and nephews giving of preview of what team K2 can expect to see … and feel when their own Margo makes her yuletide debut next year.
This year, I chose to stay put in Manhattan and quietly in the apartment. I’m glad, because having had plans would have made it hard to take the quick necessary trip to Georgia a few weeks ago and I would have missed so much.
Also, I’ve hiked the Konza with a friend who now lives in Texas, shared a meal with two friends who have stories that keep my attention, watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (and cried at the end), and sat in the bright quiet of the nearest Catholic church during their midnight mass.
I’ve avoided this “alone” for so long because I worried what it would say about me. To be alone. At Christmas. The thought has left me shaking in my bunny slippers for years. But this year I realized that all it says is that I am home in my own good company during this day of celebration.
It is not easy. Nor is it exceptionally hard. I have had to wrestle my thoughts and remind myself that all this scenario says about me – about the many “us” who are singing solo – that I have friends and family who have lovingly invited me in, that Izzy and I are holding down the fort, that I am grateful for the RCPD officers who just drove by and the Fire Department who recently had cause to fire up their siren. And that I will remember this feeling in the future.
We will climb this Mt. Mitchell with people who can tell me more stories about the place and history than most, roast a turkey and certainly drop a few tears (it’s about the people, folks, not the stuff.)
This year, I am practicing being open to all of it – all of the experience. Years ago in a fervent prayer I have regretted many times since, I asked to be like “everyman.” To experience the full fledge of feelings and life so that my heart would not judge and my table – my home – would always be a welcome place for others. This was more a request of naivete rather than hubris, but … woah. Shut the front door.
Lately, I’ve been challenged to welcome sweetness – to expect the joys of “everyman” and not just the tearful calls in the middle of the night. To hope despite appearances and the sense of “home” I wrestle to cultivate, that the time for unbridled joy, for courage and confidence, for the right fit of love and adventure will also make its debut this year. Bold statement from someone who’s trust muscle is slow to build.
So as I sit with my legs slung over the chair and the wonderdog snoring in her sunny spot, I wish for you in this uncomplicating new year – the most wonderful time of your life. And mine.
May we know joy.
May we be happy.
May we be healthy in every way.
May we cultivate peace.
And may we know deep love freely given.
Much love from the Hobbit House.