Christmas has come and gone and life goes on as usual. The tree still stoically bears its tiny, white lights, hovering above the bits of brightly colored wrapping paper that remain to be swept aside. The fireplace is warm from last night’s family carol time and that special, yuletide scent hangs in the air.
My little granddaughter, Nicky (5 yrs.old), insisted on accompanying Grandpa and Grandma for our daily walk on the mountain road this morning. Her blacks curls bobbed up and down and her little legs pumped to keep up as she grasped hard to my hand.
“Do you want to hear about the dream I had last night?”she asked. “There were flowers everywhere and all the people came out of their houses, including us, to plant flowers that grew real fast. The people were all dressed in Christmas clothes and everyone was singing Christmas songs. There were big, beautiful houses and rivers and lakes with green, green grass on the hills and everyone was smiling.”
My eyes filled with tears. All through December we were moving so fast, performing music all over town, that I had little time to stop and listen. Now I was listening. Nicky is the kind of child that can make up stories using two forks who talk to each other or sing and converse incessantly with the pile of pillows she retrieved from the sofas, each one playing its special role in her story. She loves animals, hugs and kisses and will dance to music that only she can hear.
Was it a dream or her imagination that took her to this place? It reminded me of the visions people have had of a perfect world in the afterlife and places I have visited myself in dreams that leave a lingering feeling you’d rather not wake up from. But today was the day after Christmas and the childlike fervor with which she described this place contained a sort of divine message about the ongoing joy and beauty we yearn for and strive to recreate, at least yearly, at Christmas time.Today, I had no obligations; I could stop to listen.
A new year is at our door. We have a bit of time to let go of both the celebration or sorrow of last year and turn a new page. I strive to collect the lessons learned, eliminate the old baggage and put it all in order. Nicky’s dream brought to mind what is truly important. What am I really striving for? The years pass by so quickly while life’s turns and twists absorb us with efforts to reach our earthly goals; how easy it is to lose the essence of it all, the meaning of each hour and moment. Ambitions to be somebody have slowly disappeared and the simplicity of life’s true content comes to the fore.
This wonderful week in between Christmas and the New Year provides the space to listen, pray and reflect. It cushions the year with time to stop, and then start again. May we listen to find the answers in the sounds that our soul emits and begin this next year’s journey on the pathway that will lead to the higher calling. As Leon Hieco, the famous Argentine singer expresses in his most famous song, “May death not find me empty and alone without having done enough.” May this be a year that will bring us a step closer to the culmination of our personal mission, no matter how apparently great or insignificant it may seem. Every silent act of love and blessed thought sent out to strengthen another, are the vehicles to take us there.
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