Monday, December 26, 2011


Well, Christmas came and went.  And how unusually beautiful it is in my life, still, even now.  This holiday that once felt like it would always be spent with my family and a tree and the warm fireplace burning, watching the winter snow fall outside of frosted windows. I don't know what I was thinking once, that I forgot that there would be a long stretch of my life out in the world on my own. That there would be many Christmas days to be experienced between the family I came from and the family I might one day create.  That, it never occurred to me, my parents could move away from the town I grew up in, that we might lose some of us along the way, sweet daddy, and Christmas would change because everything changes eventually.  

I'm not quite sure where I came up with my early info on life.  But, boy, do I know how it is now. That, my friends, I can say with conviction.

So my family now gathers after Christmas, usually in January, in sunny California. When I can take a few days off from work and go sing and cook and be with those who know and love me to the core and I can feel like a child again.  Mommy, my sister and Stefan, love of her life, and my brother, and somehow dad's always there too, though I can't explain it.

But Christmas, actual Christmas, it's always something new here in LA.  This year, my friends Bethany and Jessica and I continued a tradition begun last year.  Bethany and I go to Jessica's on Christmas eve for dinner and board games and wine and a gift exchange.  We were all so excited to continue the tradition again this year.  And, I mean, there's no snow and we're gathered around a tree in an apartment warmed by a heater, and it still feels so much like Christmas, it really does, maybe because there is so much love there.  Well, and presents under the sparkling tree always help in setting the mood, too.  And Christmas jammies and a slumber party.  

And Jessica's girlfriend always joins us later in the evening, after Christmas with her family, and this time she made us the best home-made mac and cheese and joined us for some rounds of my board game, Hoopla, and her idea of a board game, Pictionary on their huge flat screen tv via everyone's iphones.  Now that was interesting, because I kept blurting out a stream of answers like I always do and, I guess, you're just supposed to type answers on your phone.  But I can't hold it in.  I have always blurted a continual stream of answers out and so I couldn't help doing it still.  I like the interacting with people board games much better, that's my conclusion from that little experiment.  I mean, screens are only so interesting.

But the whole night, I loved it.  It's just so sweet to find ways to re-invent the holiday, at this phase of my life, and to have found friends here to spend it with, recent friends that love me to the core.   I feel like I know now, wiser girl that I am, that it's up to me to see the value in life as it is.  To create whatever unconventional Christmas we come up with. To find ways to honor life for being just what it is, because it is such a hallowed experience, even if everything does change so much, difficult as it is.  

That's the thing, though.  It seems like that's sort of the point.  We lose everything but our experiences.  So, we can't really worry about things changing and ending, but only of not experiencing them before they do.  And so it's up to us to find ways to enjoy things the way they are right now.  Because, it's one thing to love and trust stability, the expected, the things that feel right and easy, that make us feel secure, that make sense to us. But it seems so much more important to love and trust the unanticipated, the difficult, the new.  If the resilience of our love and trust is never tested, how do we know that we have any faith in what is at all?  I know now, for myself, I honor this divine existence not by trying to figure it out, but by believing in it.  

Which I am proving in writing this still.  Because it is not going the way I expected it to and I am not even doing the things I foresaw, but it is going somewhere, and I am doing things.  So, I don't have the reins, but the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh.  And I'm on board for it.

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