Traditions, Christmas, Darkness and Light

Can you feel it too? There is loneliness and pain, darkness and light flitting about the earth.  Christmas Day in Australia is taking place on a full moon. You can’t get more intense than that! People seem to be exhausted and have let traditions slip. Annual get-togethers haven’t happened, and events attended each Christmas have been neglected. I was feeling melancholy, then realized that I haven’t been to a carol service, local markets, nor caught up with friends. All the things that make life lighter and give you something to look forward to. The only event we went to was the lighting of the Martin Place Christmas Tree, and I was finding it hard to sustain the Christmas spirit until I went to a loved one’s house and was gifted these blankets.

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Hand-made in Ethiopia, their sale benefits Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, an organization founded by Dr Catherine Hamlin, whom still does the rounds of the hospital in her 90’s. I had tears when my daughter and I were gifted these blankets. Young women had crafted them a world away. The fact is, one can be in Ethiopia in a day. Restoring these women’s dignity restores us all. I will treasure these blankets all my days.

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My little girl asked me to close my eyes Saturday afternoon, and presented me with this little girl, aptly called Noel. I have wanted a cockatiel for the longest time and am delighted with this addition to our family. I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful and wondrous gift! It has been cute watching our little birds desperate to impress her with their songs and tricks. She adores them, and loves going into their house and hanging out with them. Whilst birds and thoughtful kids, blankets and people such as Dr Catherine Hamlin are in the world, life is great.

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It has been a new frontier, starting home schooling. I identified as the ‘school mum,’  helping out, and attending assemblies and concerts, carols, fetes and movies. I think we have both felt a little adrift this season as a result. It is a whole new way of life, and we are so grateful that she will be seeing her old school friends as well as new friends through the holidays. I am so grateful to my friend Lisa, who is a librarian. She brings around books aimed at dyslexic kids. The stories are engaging and it is a joy to watch my daughter read. We are getting there with building up her confidence. This lady contacted me, explaining we had mutual friends and that she would like to help. Help you have, beautiful one.

I have had periods of ferocious flashbacks and what those in the know term ‘the horrors.’ Aptly titled. Trying to function whilst your heart is in your throat and your voice is unable to relay what is going on inside your mind… We have needed to stop, and just be together. We all need to stop once in a while and have nowhere to go and nothing to do. There has been a lapse in traditions this season. I love the story I heard of a lady who goes on a long walk and picks flowers with her children before opening the gifts around the tree Christmas morning. This week, I shall be honouring some of my standards, and it will seem I am being drip-fed light. It will feel like Christmas. I wish there was time to see everyone I want to, and go to everything I desire to. Time is a cruel master on this earth, and you can only do what you can do.

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Moving has brought home to me how much we tolerate. I am sleeping better here, and am certainly much more content. How I lasted in the former place, I don’t know. You become used to unpleasant situations, but then it reaches a point when you break and say, “I can’t do this anymore!” In the breaking down, there comes the breakthrough that you need. It is so quiet here, and the fragrant roses continue to bloom. Life isn’t perfect, and there are challenges, but at least I can be alone with my thoughts. This is the home that love and friendship built, after all. I shall never forget everyone’s kindness.

Go gently through this season, and please, be kind to yourself. I think we will look back on 2015 as the year of dramatic change, with people leaving and lives being shaken to their core. We are almost through it, kids. As I watch Noel throw her water dish from her platform, I smile. She looks at me, as though saying, “what do you think of them apples?” I think those apples are fabulous, as I do this life. So much is out of our control, but if we adhere to our traditions, we can take refuge in what is familiar and safe. That is what I shall be doing this week, and it shall feel great.

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