Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone

This post finds me at the end of my Christmas baking marathon. Shortbread cookies, light fruit cake, Christmas puddings, butter tarts, butterscotch confetti all hide in various locations around the house waiting to be doled out over the holidays. The weather is awful mostly, blowing wind, sideways rain but for a few brief moments on the 20th/21st this month, the skies opened up so that I could see an eclipsed moon on my birthday. It is a good end to a difficult year.

Gerry has made a batch of hot buttered rum mix, and in the evening there is nothing so restorative than sitting in the half-light of the living room with the Christmas tree glowing and one of those rummy-elixirs in hand.

Friends this year have been so very important, even while they are plodding through their own life-altering changes and for this I am so very grateful. We can all only hope that 2011 will be kinder to our frayed nerves but at least we know that whatever happens, we are not alone.

To me, Christmas isn't just about a big dinner. It is about the preparation and delight in the process. This year, I found myself really engaged in the process and it was healing. Remembering the years when I merely watched these delights appear, it became clear that the stirring, cooking, baking and cooling were metaphors for our lives together. It is the work it takes to make things happen that is important. The treat is at the end but that isn't where life lies.

Making the most of what can only be called a crappy year is all that is open to us. We plod ahead, hopeful.

I know, I know. Pollyanna. But really what is left to us? We can decide to avoid life when it is awful, not learning the hard lessons. That is a half-life. Or we can gather our strength and decide to live. Christmas baking says "I am living"

I wish you all the best. I wish you the strength to bake, the strength to garden, the strength to have tea with friends, the strength to affirm life is worth the effort. And thank you for being there when I didn't have the strength.