The Day After Christmas…

It was a hard week for some people I adore, but with that week came some unexpected riches.

Cynthia lost Don. My friend Lisa lost her sister, who was also her best friend. My friend Cindy had surgery that totally altered her holidays by draining her energy and forcing her to rest in her home. I want to make things better for Cynthia, Lisa and Cindy. I want to reach out and…restore them. I can’t bring back the people they love or offer them health or healing, but I can be present and active in their lives. And I have tried to do that this week. The part that surprised me was that, in being with them, I felt restored.

At Cynthia’s place the other night, I made some new friends and developed an even greater desire to know Cynthia better than I do because I loved the feel of her place and her genuineness and hospitality in that evening.  Over dinner with Lisa, I took strength from the strength I saw in her and the love she continues to show for her sister and her sister’s family.  Oh that we should all be so true and steadfast. And this weekend, Cindy allowed me to play in her kitchen and, though I am far from a cook, that time of cooking breakfast and sharing a meal set my heart right in a way I’m not sure how to articulate. I just enjoyed myself, and I enjoyed her and was touched that she allowed me so fully into her home.

I also had a couple of chance encounters with another friend who brightened my weekend rather unexpectedly.  On Friday, I walked into one of my favorite stores and happened to see another friend named Cindy, who I’d been trying to meet up with for weeks.  We ended up spending a couple of hours together browsing, talking, and laughing and had so much fun that we tried and managed to meet up again the next day at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar where we browsed, talked and laughed some more. I could have done my shopping and wandered that fair on my own, but seeing Cindy – connecting with Cindy – made the experience much sweeter.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the time with my family.  On Christmas Eve, we attended a church service and did our gift exchange with a lighthearted energy that felt easy. And Christmas day felt much the same way. We ate and laughed and watched television and played games, all with a cheer that exceeded that of our typical weekend gatherings.

As busy as I have been, I didn’t feel ready for this holiday. I managed, with Cindy’s help, to be ready for my family gift exchange, but family Christmas aside, my life feels left undone. My Christmas gifts are only partially purchased. I have not mailed even one package to anyone. My house is a wreck. My car is still filthy. My website isn’t finished. Erin’s photo book isn’t finished. So much still needs to happen between now and the end of the year.  I have a funeral to go this week, and I’m in the office on a day that we are closed, trying to catch up on work so that I feel more on top of my work load. Looking back, I see change.  Looking forward, I see change. But somehow, I’m okay with all of that. I feel like it is all going to be okay.

The time with my friends and family, coupled with the most wonderful photos and the kindest, most loving words that arrived in the mail this season and especially in the last couple of days, most unexpectedly left me feeling restored despite everything.  I feel surrounded by friendship and love.  And for this feeling, I am terribly grateful.

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