And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on this earth. ~from “Last Fragment” by Raymond Carver
So here I am today, the eve of Christmas Eve, with one last present to wrap. It is a gift for my “soul sister”, Emily, and I cannot wait to give it to her. It is a small book by Anne Lamott aptly titled, “Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers”. When I heard Anne interviewed recently about the book, I knew immediately that I would be giving it to my friend as her Christmas gift. After church this morning, I went home intent on finishing the last of the gifts. Of course, I was quickly distracted by the book and I sat on my bed to peruse it! I happened upon a few pages that I feel were quite timely for the season and certainly befitting of my current positive state of mind. One particular sentence struck a chord for me: “Amazing things appear in our lives, almost out of nowhere-landscapes, seascapes, forgiveness-and they keep happening; so many vistas and so much healing to give thanks for.”
This year more than any other in my recent memory, has been a year of miracles. It began with the return home of my youngest son. He had been living for the better part of his high school years with his father. This was something that was both painful for me and necessary for him at the time. It afforded him the opportunity to get to know his father on his own terms and to be educated at a high quality technical high school in that district. This is not to say that I did not see my son. We adhered to a schedule of regular time together but it was not the same as it had been for the first 14 years of his life. I had to have faith that the foundation of values that I had laid were enough to keep him on a fairly straight path as he navigated his way through his teenage years without me there full time. In some weird way, I now believe that while he was breaking free of his attachment to me, he was at the same time maintaining his loving connection. There are too many instances and examples of the latter to talk about here; but suffice it to say that each time he needed advice or a good conversation, he called me. By the time the early part of this year had rolled around, I was not surprised to get the phone call that he was moving home.
Our new time together began with healing for him. The last year of living with his dad had been one of high stress, neglect and emotional abuse. He came to me thinner than he should have been and in need of strong TLC. We talked and talked and I fed and fed him. He saw his therapist. He lost a job and got a better one. He started dating a young lady who appreciates him. He got regrouped and relaunched. And best of all, he has matured greatly. The other day, when I was sharing a quick meal with him and his girlfriend, I said how proud I was of his growth this year but I did not want to take the credit for it. And my son, being my son, turned to me and said, “No mom, you deserve a lot of the credit.”
I have also observed my oldest son grow even more mature this past year. I see him now as a young man who feels less responsible for protecting me and being a role model for his brother and more tune into his own needs. He has come into a different level of independence. And lately, he has been making authentic moral choices that most of us might balk at given the situation or the person involved (especially when that person is ethically challenged). This is nothing but a positive sign post for his future as a true and whole man.
And what would this year be without the continued and steadfast love of my sweetheart? He is my third miracle, my landscape of a respectful and loving commitment brought to me through the love of my mother.
For me Christmas is not so much about the gift giving-although I love that too! It really is a means for us to be freely generous with our hearts and souls. In this season we remember and reminisce about those we have loved and lost and understand that they are still with us. It is a way for all of us to come together and express our love for one another.
May the blessings of the season with all its revelry and challenges be with you this year. May you find love and peace within yourself so that you, too, feel as beloved as I do.