Wednesday Hodgepodge: 6 December 2017

Yeah, this entry is ... oh, wait, I'm not late, it's still Wednesday!  :)

The Wednesday Hodgepodge appears courtesy of From This Side of the Pond.

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?

"What's Next?" (with apologies to Aaron Sorkin)

So much of what I'm doing right now is simply reacting to the next task in front of me.   I wish I had more opportunity to pause and reflect.   Maybe that's why I'm trying obsessively to get back into the whole blogging thing again.

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Mostly, it's leftovers.   I'm sure I could get along without it, but it'd be a whole lot more awkward.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

This is an unusual carol ... but it reminds us that Christmas isn't about a baby, but a savior.

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

Oh, that's hard.   Partially because I'm usually the one doing the driving. 

(ducks away to renew my automotive insurance)

I guess there are a couple that come to mind. 

1) When I was a kid, living in the suburbs, we'd often drive home from Christmas Eve service at church by driving around a bunch of the neighborhoods, looking at all the Christmas light displays.   I wish I had the time or energy to make one of those displays.   But the memory sticks out.

2) The other one that comes to mind was the ride with my dear wife just after our wedding, driving from her house (where we stopped to change clothes and pick up our luggage) off to our destination for the evening.   It was a beautiful spring evening ... but it was also beautiful in that we'd just spent the day with all of our friends and family together in this joyous wedding celebration.   And riding together, there was an ease ... we were finally married, finally able to relax in each other's presence and fully enjoy what that meant.

5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

Actual Christmas lists are hard for me these days; I've been blessed to have most of what I need or want --- and, frankly, am starting to accumulate more stuff than I can reasonably enjoy.

Figuratively speaking?   I think I'd like the gift of time spent with friends.   

6. Insert your own random thought here.

It's hard for me to look at the calendar and not think of what this date means in our family.   December 6, 1986, was the date that my dear sister Cindy was pronounced dead.

It was a sudden event.   I was off at college; Cindy was eating breakfast at home and getting ready for another day of high school.   Without any warning or indication, an artery burst in her brain, and she fell unconscious (and brain-dead) a minute later.   24 hours later, with the requirements of the law fulfilled, her body was allowed to rest.

Doing the math and realizing that this was 31 years ago means that I've spent more of my life without Cindy than with her.   So I don't think about her much, if at all.  But I do think about her a little during Advent.

I used to be someone who embraced all the silliness of the Advent season.   Going through intense grief in the midst of it took some of the edge off of that.   Don't get me wrong --- I still enjoy Advent.   But it took quite some time for me to replace some of the antic silliness with deeper, quieter joy.

It's also made me more conscious of how hard this season can be for others.   We've developed a cultural expectation that December is a time to be spent celebrating with family.   But for many people, time spent with family is hard.   Old wounds are re-opened and deepened.   New reasons for conflict are found.   

And, of course, for many families, there are empty chairs at the table that were not there last year.

I hope that as you celebrate this holiday season, you keep an eye out for those around you who might seem less than merry.   There may not be anything you can do for them; there are no shortcuts to grief.   But perhaps you can offer an arm to lean upon, or an ear to hear a favorite family story, or an eye willing to see them right where they are.


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