Sunday, December 28, 2014

There was beauty in the stillness

I've spent a number of years in search of a feeling and I never, ever thought I'd find it in a quiet suburban home in the town of my youth. I've been a bit aimless. I've been wandering through life trying to be important and tall. I've been feeling critical, skeptical. I've made judgments and I've been judged a lot.

My family moved this summer. We bought a house. We fulfilled the permanence part of my Poetry & Permanence plans for 2014. If my count is accurate, we have had 8 addresses in our 13 years of marriage and my daughter has had 5 addresses in her 8 years of life. When I add to that just how much we've changed, learned, unlearned, grown, and outgrown, it's sort of a miracle we are all still in one piece.

But, perhaps we are not in one piece? Perhaps we have left pieces of ourselves in every place we've been.

So we moved this summer and it was the catalyst to another whirlwind in the whirlwind of life. We settled on a house that needed some good old-fashioned love, we rode our bikes, played with our friends, went swimming, and enjoyed the summer as best we could before we settled into new schools (a new district for the child and a new teaching job for me). It felt a bit like sprinting. We were forgetting things, we got tired, the house was - and is - a perpetual mess. And then it was Christmas.

Christmas this year was low-drama and high-excitement. Our new house is so much closer to our family and friends that I felt giddy about the prospect of spending so little of my days in the car and so much more of my days being present. I felt joyful about my home and the memories we will make in it. On Christmas Eve, I am certain that I was more excited about Santa's impending arrival than any of the children in my presence.

And then it was Christmas morning.

I woke up first. (This is the exact opposite of my normal modus operandi.) I tip-toed downstairs and brewed a fresh cup of coffee, took care of the heat and the Christmas tree lights, found myself a blanket, and cozied up in the stillness. And realized at that moment that I got my feeling.

There aren't words. I won't even try to be poetic about it. I gazed at the colorful lights in the quiet house on Christmas morning, I ruminated over the truth and the untruths about all this incredible holiday represents, and I realized I have it. That something that I've been looking for.

I'm sure I'll leave more pieces of myself inside and outside of this place. I believe in acknowledging the messes and facing them head-on. I'm sure it won't always be coming up roses (and even in this current moment, there are so many weeds). But, today, where there has been so much skepticism, I have hope. Where there has been much despair, I have joy. Where nothing - absolutely nothing - has turned out like I had planned, I have laughter and thankfulness. Where I have wanted to slam the door on years past, I would like to give this one a big hug and kiss.

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