Friday, December 16, 2016

The end

This year has had enough ends. From our cat dying, deciding not to return to co-op, a friend dying, a silent slipping away on a last day of a place I gave my heart ... I think about ends. I think about friendship ends, and moving-away ends, and out-of-sight-out-of-mind ends, and family ends--like when we lost Grandma Jane, or that glance across the table at my dad, that kiss goodbye on his cheek as he left Thanksgiving day; I shushed the voice that questioned in my heart, "Is this our last? Can this hold me through the years without him?" Even David and I saw our end as dementia tightened its grip on him.

The ends.

As ridiculous as it seems, sometimes I don't want to finish a book because I don't want it to end. Friday night, I wrapped up our reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I fell in love with his language, his imagery, his message. I loved his darkness and his contrasts. Several times in the reading aloud I pushed through tears, like when Marley came to warn Scrooge, and not his warning about the three ghosts to come, but his warning to NOT WASTE LIFE! Or when my breath caught as Scrooge sat in brief, piercing reflection of the carolers he had passed by, or considered his own inability to reward one with a smile or kindness--something so easy and free. This cold, lonely man who seemed beyond redemption's reach, but whose heart was touched and warmed and changed.

Isn't that a real message? Don't waste your life! Don't harden your heart! Christmas redemption can change a life and the lives after that. So getting to the last page, I steadied my voice as I read one of my favorite books this year, if not of all time. The period ahead, that last period, and the white space beyond The End.

"... and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!" Stave 5, A Christmas Carol

I closed the pages of a last literature reading for the calendar year, a year that started in January ancients at co-op and ended in December Christmas at home, by a fire, on the couch, with Erin.

This book! And the illustrations by P.J. Lynch, love!

There's no place like home.

We went on a family field trip today to see a performance of A Christmas Carol. Walking into the venue, we joined a stream of school students and were ushered along like part of the group. But Shane had a stop to make, and I noticed off to the side there was a woman checking tickets. I took ours to her and she scanned them.

"What school are you with?" she asked.

"We aren't with a school," I answered. She looked puzzled and lost and not sure what to do with us, at first, until I added, "We homeschool."

"Oh! Then go through those doors and someone will direct you," she said.

And we went through the doors and were taken to quite possibly the best seats there. (Thanks, God!) Love.
before the show and before all my tears
The second the opening lines began, tears streamed down my face. For nearly the whole performance. Even talking to Shane later of a scene, I started to cry, and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. This season, tenderhearted.

In many years past, we'd drive to the city and sit in on a holiday performance at the orchestra. Last year, I felt like it was an end of a time. But ends are tender transitions to new beginnings. And this year, a fabulous production and the four of us.

Considering community in these last weeks of 2016, with a 2017 word waiting for the clock's strike to usher in the new of a new year.

God bless us. Every one.

1 comment:

Nora said...

I want to know your word!!! ;)