Friday, December 21, 2012

Solstice and solace

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

The Sun ran away early in the evening to join the surfers down in Australia and left me with a cold feeling. Really, I had a cold feeling because the mercury dropped into the fifties here in Jacksonville, Florida. Before the catcalls emerge from those winter-worn folks to the north, I count my blessings that I am indeed not shoveling snow, but making plans to mellow out to Jimmy Buffet’s rendition of ‘Christmas Island.’

The shortest day of the year came and went without the predicted pomp and circumstance of an untimely end of our world. In defiance of the Mayans, our gods had other plans that they have yet to reveal. Besides, the interminable Christmas shopping season must go on.

I emerge today from a week of being sequestered in my home to recuperate from a sinus infection and know that my hibernation was brief. The clouds lifted from my head and my lungs and gave way to a ray of sunshine that allows my holiday cheer to be as warm as even Ebenezer Scrooge would begrudge.

I scurry to mail my Christmas cards to those who sent me holiday greetings, but I missed on my own Christmas card list. I pick up my laundry from my beloved mother who still wants to be a mommy to me and I delivered my family’s presents to place under the tree. I dined on bean salad with old friends. The mundane, however, is punctuated with a festive spirit that even a trip to the credit union or car wash if pregnant with anticipation of our annual celebration of Christ’s arrival in our world.

As I take time to honor and observe the brilliance of the season, I ponder how far I have come from the darkest days of Christmas past. Depression made my days seem longer and my patience shorter. I was angry with myself for my station, or lack thereof, in my life. I battled internally over the struggle to choose between what I wanted and what was expected of me. I was losing the fight and wanted to end it all.

Hospitalization, medication and therapy did wonders for me to pull away the dark curtains that blocked my light. I lingered yet in the lack of answers to my questions until I finally drew upon an inner light that truly allowed me to see the Light that enlivens our holiday season.

I turn 38 on Tuesday and I know that my birth on this most sacred of days has a meaning that I must apply to my own renewal as I approach my forties. The burnout that nearly destroyed my spirit and the enemies both real and imagined, I decided, are no match for the hope that resides within me for a more peaceful world within and around me.

To ignore the good that enriches me would be to betray the birth, youth and growth of someone in whom many good people have invested their friendship, love and time. Yes, the leaves have fallen from the trees and the air turns chilly yet again. The darkest hour today is before the dawn of a new revolution of our mortal world around the mighty Sun. In this completion of yet another cycle, I am glad and rejoice in it.

Under my spiritual tree, there are two presents. One is marked fear and the other is marked faith. When I wake on the 25th of this month, I know which gift is mine and which one to exchange for something greater. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

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