Yesterday, while driving home from Cleveland, I heard a fascinating interview with three very talented musicians, in which each was asked to relay a Christmas memory. Some were charming and one was unexpectedly poignant. But all of them made me so grateful for every moment I’m alive. And after living sixty Christmases, it can be tricky to find new meaning in a holiday that carries so much clout. But as I listened to these brilliant young men, on the coattails of hearing a wonderful recording on the Bach d minor concerto, I was once again experiencing Christmas in a new way. What I realized about Christmas follows. In its raw form, it was my Christmas toast to the “usual suspects” at our annual Christmas Eve party. In a bit more refined and thought-out version, it’s my Christmas blog to anyone who will read it.
Beyond all the joys of traveling, painting, weddings and births, the past four years have also been riddled with other events which appeared, at the time, to be impossible situations. Some of these were made public via this blog. Others continue to remain private and untold. But each of these life-upheavals left me wondering how my world would ever be OK again. How would it ever be possible to find some sense of normal, even if it meant redefining the word? The only sure thing was that if life went on, it wouldn’t be the same. My job was to be flexible(protean, as a brilliant, erstwhile flame put it) enough to accept the imminent change confronting me, believe there would be light at the end of the tunnel and hardest of all, let go of life as I adored it at that moment. In the last hours of my sixty-first Christmas, I realize it’s about believing in the impossible, because the impossible is simply the necessary, fertile ground for, I hesitate to use the word, miracles. Not nose-twitching, abracadabra magic acts, but those excruciatingly painful-yet-beautiful metamorphoses which extrude us into new, richer versions of who we were meant to be. Not to wax pious(because I’m not) but at last I get the point of the story of the annunciation: finding new beauty in submission to those frightful moments beyond our control.
As Jim and I prepare to embark on a delayed honeymoon to the south of France as well as life’s subsequent adventures, that realization will be tucked in my travel bag and “pondered in my heart” for 2015. Stay tuned.