I live this life that is colorful to say the least, that has challenged me and pushed me at every turn and almost broken me a few times over. I get up every day and a trudge through it, and all the while I am haunted by demons whose faces I know all to well, who always lurk in the dark corners. They're always here, they always will be.
Sometimes I forget they're there. Sometimes I get so used to seeing them, I start to see through them, like that cobweb in the corner by my front door that I mean to get vacuumed up but I'm just so used to it now, I hardly even notice it anymore. And worse? I'm starting to look forward to the times when I see it again. For some reason, that stupid cobweb grounds me.
Anyway, enough about my awful housekeeping skills. I find that when winter comes, when the sun just refuses to shine, when it starts raining for days and then weeks and then months on end, that's when I can't ignore those demons anymore. Maybe they feed off the deficiency of vitamin D in my system, maybe they just like me better when I'm chilly, but this is when I'm down, so this is when they kick.
Normally, I'd be a sloppy wreck right now. Normally, I'd be so homesick it physically hurts. Normally I'd be slowly shutting down from the world, putting my heart into hibernation just to protect myself until May comes and the sun returns. This year, not so much. This year, I'm doing just fine.
You know, it's really easy to remember what's hard, what hurts, but remembering the good takes work. It takes dedication. I have to will myself into it, and I can't always, and maybe that's because I know hurt and pain and rage, but happy is still a foreign thing to me. I'm willing myself into it this year. And I have very good reason.
All around me, every minute of every day, there is inspiration. I have, just this very week, seen true compassion and pure humanity on a level I thought only existed in novels. I have witnessed raw courage and valiant bravery that has humbled me beyond all comprehension. I have been touched by the human condition this week, and it's changed something fundamental about how I'm seeing my world, my life, my past and present and future.
A few years ago, when my whole world fell apart, when everything imploded, when I was left alone, afraid and just about totally helpless, a family not my own took my hand and they held it. They held it and they didn't let go until I propped myself up, stood, and took a few unsure steps. They stood back and they watched me fumble around, finding my own feet, and once I was ready they took me to a window and they taught me how to fly.
I owe them everything I am today. If I let myself slide down, even a little, it will take away from what they did for me, and no one has ever done anything like that for anyone I've ever known. I'm going to make it worth it. I'm going to look forward in the direction they pointed me and go from there.
I'm going to languish in this feeling I have this year that there is really, truly, powerful amounts of good and strength in the world, and maybe I just have to allow myself to dwell there and not the grey, dark places I usually go to. I'm going to rejoice in my little family, that we have each other, and not regret that I can't be home with my family, or their family, this year. I'm going to create quiet, sweet silly traditions with my children this year, and even though we don't really have anyone to share those with, we have each other, right? That's good enough. That's more than I ever imagined I'd have. I'm going to reach deep down inside of myself, and I am going to grab hold of this piece of me that wants so much to be joyous, and I'm going to hold on to it until it stands up, walks around a little, and then I'm going to let it fly. Who knows where it will take me?
I have spent the past few days considerably happier than I've been in a long time, mostly because I've allowed my perception to change. I've allowed myself to feel hope, for myself and for others. I sat back last night and watched as my kids played together on the living room floor with a bunch of marbles, and I realized that I am completely, totally charmed. I have everything I could even want, everything I could ever dream of, right here in front of me with smiling faces and smelly hair. I know love on so many wonderful and different levels, I know joy, and nothing that has ever come before or will come after can take that away from me. Someone taught me that this week. Someone taught me that chocolate ice cream and pure will can cure all evils, and I will forever thank her for that.
Tonight as my daughter and I drove to the video store, a song came on the radio. That Kansas song, Dust In The Wind? I turned it up and silently mouthed the words to it as I looked out over a blood red sunset like we just don't get here in winter, ever, and I drifted back to the last time I'd heard that song, when I was maybe 14 or so. My mother used to sit with her Ovation acoustic, strumming those notes and singing those words, and I would sit in front of her and drown myself in it. My mother could sing like no other, and she played guitar like the angels. I listened to it on the radio tonight, hearing her voice through my speakers, seeing her fingers right there in front of me on the steering wheel, and that's when I realized that something really has shifted inside of me.
I can't remember the last time I had a fond memory of my mother. I can't remember feeling anything but unadulterated black smoky hate for her. Tonight in the car, it just came to me. I didn't have to will it, I didn't want to fight it. I cherish that memory of her. I cherish a lot of memories of her. Most of it was unimaginably painful, but some of it was magic. Sometimes we flew. That's what I want to hold on to.
This year, this Christmas, I just want to keep flying. I want this feeling that I have, the feeling of beauty and of love and the knowledge that I am not alone, that none of us are really ever alone, to keep pushing me up and up and up, until all that I can see is light. It's possible, it's happening, and it's the greatest gift I've ever been given.