Why This Lakeside Curmudgeon Still Loves The Holiday Season
By Don Beaudreau
Happy Holiday to one and all, however you might celebrate it! Whatever your religious tradition (or lack of one), cultural influence, philosophical belief, or life experience. Whatever your sorrow, frustration, fear, confusion, or anger. Whatever your joy, expectation, excitement, amazement, or astonishment.
It is a season so very rich in images, memories, hopes and emotions. For some of us, it is overwhelming. Too much of a good thing, or too little of a good thing. What I have learned is to let go of my expectations or desires. Or at least to try to let go of them. To go with the flow, be centered, and not control others. You know, all that “stuff” you read about in trendy articles on the internet.
But it is not so easy to do that, especially for a curmudgeon like me!
It seems that the more some of us try to go with the flow, the more we blow! We explode our emotions all over the place. Memories (sweet or upsetting) come back to us. Or we create fearful expectations about the future.
Nevertheless, I love this season because its symbols speak of hope and possibility, even for this self-professed curmudgeon. Here are some examples of what I mean:
I believe there are angels among us all the time.
But what exactly is an angel?
Here is how I suggest we can tell if we bump into one:
Angels deny they are angels.
They don’t all have wings or halos or smiles – those are only the ones who like to dress up.
Angels don’t expect anything in return for services rendered.
They don’t always tell us what we want to hear.
Oh, yes, every once in a while, we think we hear their voice;
And every once in a while, we think we see them!
Angels aren’t all called Michael or Gabriel.
We might even be angels and not realize it.
Yes, angels are here among us,
Giving us gifts beyond measure:
Gifts of humor when we think the sun will never shine again;
Passion when we believe we are unlovable;
Inspiration when our life force wanes;
Confidentiality when we can’t tell anyone else our secrets;
Forgiveness when we so sorely need it;
Advice when we don’t know which direction to turn;
Frankness when we try to tell less than the truth about who we really are;
And the gift of just being there when we are so very alone.
You see, the angels are people who care about us.
This is their message as they sing over the Bethlehem infant,
Hover at the bedsides of those who suffer greatly,
Walk hand-in-hand with those whose lives this year have been very tough,
And who are there as a source of strength and understanding when life doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Yes, angels are real, and they can bring joy to us every day of the year if only we let them into our lives.
Truly, the angels are among us!
Beyond human imagining,
In a place and at a time we will never know,
A star exploded –
Sparking a fire that lit up the sky,
That lit up stars and planets in other places
At other times from our own.
And the earth, too, was bedazzled after a while.
This little spinning orb lost in space encountered this great light!
All the while “time” or what we call “time”
Continued with human events, great and small,
Each having its own brief period then dying with the light.
This great light was the same light Homer saw
An untold number of millennia after the star blew apart.
And 3,000 years after Homer, that light shining over the Bethlehem manger was only half as bright,
And now 5,000 years after Homer, we moderns no longer see the light –
It burns somewhere else!
The same light creating more legends for others “out there”
Or so we can suppose, but what do we know?
How can we possibly conceive of the inconceivable?
Mortals we are, no matter how some might claim
Their own divinity!
So here is a suggestion
As we end one year and start a new one:
Perhaps better than our claiming too little or too much
About our status in this blow-apart firmament,
But knowing that we do not know,
Might we live in hope that we are not lost in space?
For how can we be? We have each other –
And is that not sufficient light?
Are we not stardust ourselves?
Each of us, a light shining on the other;
Each of us bringing the other out of darkness.
Home is where…
The fill-in-the-blank is: heart, love, dog.
“It is where they have to take you in,” said Dad.
But who is “they”? And where is that “place”?
For the homeless? The imprisoned? The hospitalized? The marginalized?
Where is home when our mind can never be retrieved?
Home: more than wood and stone;
More than a fixed, comfortable address.
And so we fill in the blanks in a myriad of ways:
Home is where the familiar things are;
The memories not limited by time or place;
Home is where the deep part of us resides, behind the persona, the mask,
It is where the life force itself calls to us undefiled by circumstance —
Pure and hopeful, advocating that we find home
In dancing with the entire universe.
Let us remember those we have loved and lost,
And affirm with all who are with us now in life or spirit,
That through it all – the good and the not-so-good –
We have many gifts for which to be thankful:
For we are here in the first place, we have survived!
We have friends and family, breath and energy, appetite and thirst.
We are in a place of comfort and safety,
And have seen sunrises and sunsets,
And the faces of children, so wondrous about life.
We have heard birdsong and Bach and the wind whispering through pines.
We have touched the hand of our beloved, felt the softness of a fine downy quilt, and the grittiness of sand sifting through our toes.
We have smelled the fragrance of new mint and fine perfume, and the saltiness of the ocean.
We have tasted strawberries just off the vine, honey on the comb, and a well-seasoned wine.
And on occasion, we have really communicated with another human being,
And have been loved and have loved in return.
We have dreamed dreams, felt deep emotion, and sometimes found a peaceful sense about who we are.
Yes, through it all – the good and the not-so-good
Let us rejoice for these gifts of the human spirit.
Don Beaudreau is a local writer whose books are available on AMAZON BOOKS in Kindle and paperback editions. His latest book, Cleopatra in Cat Skin (And Other Lessons from the Critters) weaves together a rich tapestry of his adventures with animals around the world.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com