Anticipation

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I wonder how many people find themselves a little depressed after the Christmas hustle and bustle?

Sometimes the anticipation fueled by our expectations sets us up for disappointment.

Which reminds me of the year my sisters and I figured out how to open and preview all of our Christmas presents.

I’m not sure who figured out a single edge razor blade would cleanly cut the tape of the wrapping paper. A few careful slices here and there and we had it all within our grasp.

Our  super sleuthing evolved as we took on each and every package under the tree. Proudly we declared no wrapped package could or would defeat us.

Because we did not understand the consequences of our prank, our ego and pride combined in such a way that the basic components of the Christmas season were lost before we even realized something was missing. We’d reached the point of no return, losing that element of surprise which immediately took away the one thing that there has no substitute–anticipation.

“Sometimes what we lack is the thrill of anticipation or the delay of gratification. We enjoy things far more when we’ve really desired them but had to wait for them. The real value is found in our self-control and patience, which allows us to delay gratification and build anticipation. Letting desire build is an abstract way to achieve balance and moderation in your life… Moderation just may be the answer to boredom – go figure!”                            Cristin Frank

I am…

B…simply being…

~Peace~

 

Silent Night

Silent Night
On Christmas Eve in 1818
A blizzard stranded the tiny village of Ogledorf
Nestled in the Austrian mountains
That same day the people of St. Nicholas’ church found their organ broken
So the priest and organist began composing a song that could be sung without
An organ yet beautiful enough to express their Christmas joy
All day and all night long they worked
And at midnight the gentle carol Silent Night was born
The pure clear tones echoed through the hills
And the world has been captured by the beauty of that simple song ever since.
Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
Silent Night
Holy Night
Shepards pray at the sight
Glory streams from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah
Christ the Savior is born
Christ the Savior is born
Silent Night
Holy Night
All is calm
And all is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
Silent Night
Holy Night
Sleep in heavenly peace
     Every time I sing this song, I cry. I guess it brings back the memories of all the times I’ve been able to sing it in my lifetime–from sitting beside my Mom at Midnight Mass to singing along with the radio just a few days ago.
     There was a time, in my previous life I’ve visited so often these past few months when this song was sung a lot. My co-workers and I followed a certain singer around the city of Waterloo for months. He was probably our age, sang a lot of John Denver, and tolerated our singing along while we drank and danced. As a group, we worked hard. We saw a lot of people in both mental and physical pain. Because of that, we partied hard. The experiences of our day were often carried around with us and it was not always easy to get those images and stories out of your mind. So, for a few hours, we escaped with Jim Miller, I think that was his name, and we began to forget.
     At the end of the night, after the last song, he would request we all stand and join hands. The first time I was there for this, I wondered what in the world was going on. We stood, took the hand of the person beside us, and listened. Regardless of the time of year, the guitar chords were unmistakable. We all sang–I would cry–Silent Night.
     Now, years and years later, I firmly believe that it was the singing of this song that alerted our guardian angels to the fact we were all headed home. God knows there were many of those nights I never ever should have been driving. By the grace of God, we all arrived home safe and more-or-less sound.
     On this Christmas Eve, I have a few things on my wish list. If they fit your needs, I wish them for you as well.
     I ask for the time to continue to read and learn so I can write and share. There is so much to learn I  often find myself overwhelmed. When that happens, I have to remind myself of Ann Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird, and it one thing at a time.
 
     I ask that my teachers continue to appear–whether they are friends sharing their life stories or books I discover. I am beginning to see that lessons are not always taught in traditional ways. I pray I stay open and aware of each opportunity as it presents itself. Some days show me so many new things I feel like that kid who has only the very basic understanding of arithmetic and is handed a book about algebra. Where to start and when to stop are still big questions for me.
 
     With each lesson, I feel as though I am given new tools from an unknown tool chest. I pray for the patience to learn how to use these tools so I can share all this better and more easily. 
     May God give me the wisdom to see my own strength and to believe in the beauty and power of the Spirit I am. 
     May God’s love and grace surround me today and always. 
I am…
B…simply being…
Peace be with you.

Wish Book

Christmas will always be as long as we stand heart to heart and hand in hand.  Dr. Seuss

Over the weekend I was thumbing through the AARP Bulletin. There on the top of page four, above the headline of Medicare 2018, on the In the News page, was this little note:

“Looking to connect with boomer nostalgia, Sears is publishing its holiday “Wish Book” for the first time since 2011. Launched in 1933, the catalog let generations of children dream of their perfect Christmas morning. In 1991, the “Wish Book” totaled 806 pages; this year it will be 120 pages.”

I had to laugh since I’d just written about catalog dreaming and shopping. I’d forgotten it was called the “Wish Book.” When I read how small the “Wish Book” will be this year, I could feel my smile slipping away. My first thought was, guess Sears made the first list edit for me. Then I thought how just the sheer size of that catalog was part of the thrill and the excitement of the whole thing. Really. It was gigantic. I had to use both hands to carry it around. When I was very young, the Christmas catalog was one of the biggest books I’d ever seen–for sure the biggest book I’d ever held in my hands.

Maybe finding that little note was not such a great find? Maybe we all would have been better off not knowing the revival of a beloved tradition was done on such a small, sad scale.

Maybe it’s better for us all to remember:

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.  Mary Ellen Chase. 

I am…

B…simply being…

Sending you all love.

Peace