It is almost New Year’s Eve and winter has somewhat caught up with us bringing frozen sunny mornings to our doorstep.
It is eerily humbling to be waiting for winter the way it once was in a place that is never going to be the way it once was… People and places change in the bitter sweet dance of time, and no matter how stubborn, we are all twirling like snowflakes in a snow storm, landing where we least expected and poised (if we make it so) to make the best of it.
The year comes to an end. It’s always with a bit of regret that I look back, choosing to see mostly the things I’ll leave behind forever. This time though I want to hum the better song as I walk along. The things I’ve learned, the ones I take with, the ones that make me better, or so I feel.
It’s a matter of making peace with yourself and life. Not crying over what cannot be changed. The prayer comes to mind, the one I so often saw as difficult to accomplish when changes made me bend under their implacable weight and what was left of me was no more than a twig seemingly breakable by the first gust of wind. It’s never like that though…
Now I know…
That the worst of days has, like the happiest, has only 24 hours that it can howl at me. That is, at best, a ladder with 24 rungs that I leave behind one after another as I climb towards a better day.
That if I need someone to tell me I can do it or hold my hand (or heart) as I do it, all I have to do is ask. That might be one of the hardest things to do, which is why it is one of the biggest gift someone can give. It’s the give-get thing. An unsinkable truth of life indeed.
That we are solely able to steer off courses that take us to where we do not want to go. All we have to do is stop, breathe, and have the courage to look around, asking loud enough ‘Is this where I want to be?’ If not, why dawdle? Of all the 24 rungs we climb, if there is at least one left, we can make it a day.
That when I smile, everything gets better. That someone will smile back. It’s never to be taken for granted. Or forgotten. The world is a smile better when we make it so. It’s a matter of will. And courage to be vulnerable enough to let yourself be seen. Smiling. Crying. It’s the same face that does it, the same heart that powers both.
That there is a gift of calmness in a crumpled leaf that I will never find anywhere else. When you step outside and pick one up, it will tell you stories of life and death, of the inexorable nature of seasons, of being just a wee song in the large orchestra that would sound different, even in an imperceptible way, if you were not there.
That I can get lost in a sea of others, but I am still my own. When you are, you are your own colour to a world that you joined as unique once upon a time. Add your own, believe that you can.
That I am able to see. With me eyes, with my heart, with my hands in the dark. As long as the mind is open to it.
That clouds are lessons, so big that only a sky could hold them all. Like you or I, they speak time, except that they seem to explain it better. Things come and go, nothing stays forever. Of course I know that. And just like that, of course I pretend to forget. Because it is both soothing and scary, a flavour that we have to learn to use as we go so that each bite becomes a gift. If each bite is to become a gift.
That when I open my arms for a hug, someone will fall in there, soft-hearted and eager, and will emerge feeling worthy. Because of that hug. Which I could give because I know the taste of it. Because someone, somewhere, had gifted me the same.
That seeing the sunrise is as precious as being born. Every day, another chance to make it better. There are 365 sunrises a year. Every year.
That having my children call the most urgent ‘Mom, come see the sky!’ means that sunsets are reminders of shared life, love and the wonder of a world we get to see once more through the eyes of those who never hold back unless we make them think they should. Which is a sin.
That precious is not a word for diamonds, or things made to be expensive. It is what defines morning walks with my sons, their arms wrapped around my neck at night, or the four of us waking up by a lake, soft whispers infusing the emerald air and having us know that as long as we can see that together we are on the side of life where we should be.
That speaking of life not just as you see it but as you feel it is a must. Vulnerability makes us stronger.
That’s how much I’ve learned this year, that’s what I’m taking with me to the next. To build on. To learn of so much more.
Happy New Year!