It could have been an awful Christmas. It was the first since my mom died and the first spent without my children. I had little money to spend on gifts and assumed I would get none. I had been feeling the heavy sorrow of all the tragedy and heartbreak of the past several weeks and months.
Instead, it was an awe-full Christmas. I awoke with the sense that this was a special day, an echo of the joy that I felt as a child on Christmas morning. Anything was possible and I felt drawn to open up to each moment of the day as it unfolded, to experience it in its fullness and beauty.
I spent the holiday with my dad. At 93, his life has gotten much slower and more simple. As I adjusted to his pace, I was able to more fully understand his experience and cultivate acceptance of what is already here for him and for myself, too.
Among the amazing things I noticed that day were:
A trio of turtles sunning on a culvert at the ponds edge.
A bald eagle crying out has he circled above me with a snake in his clutches.
That it really was ok for my dad to have bran flakes for breakfast despite the Christmas meal I had planned.
That I was present for and with my daughter as she worked to figure out important aspects of her adult life.
That I was truly blessed and happy.
I realize that I could have been sad and grumpy because everything about the holiday had changed since last year and long standing traditions had been forever broken. I could have been dependent on all the outer manifestations of the season and on my friends and family to be happy, and had a truly terrible day as a result.
Instead, I discovered that my true joy was embedded simply in my presence, the ability to be with whatever arrived in each moment. It didn’t matter if it was “good” or “bad.” The fact that I was aware of it and I was ok was enough. And I also realized that I could approach each day going forward with this same intention and feel the wonder of what is happening now, as each “now” presents itself. I gave thanks to that childhood memory for reminding me of all of this.
As the new year begins, I am hoping it will be an awe-full one, too.
If you are seeking professional mental health counseling services, please contact Linda Oxford at (248) 930-0004 or send an e-mail .