The variety of experience
Right now I am sitting at the table on my terrace, wearing my father’s bathrobe, drinking PG Tips and eating a bowl of oatmeal.
Cookie (the black dachsie) and Panza, the wild kitty girl, are taking gentle winter sunbaths on the grass. Temps in the 70’s F.
There is a moment in all the brouhaha — the parties, luncheons, dinners, cleaning, shopping, cooking, list making, wrapping, cleaning, baking, cleaning, decorating, cooking — when the grace of Christmas slips into my life.
That moment is my Christmas. It happens when a feeling of acceptance and humanity makes itself known in the most palpable way.
It is usually in a quiet moment. One year it was when I was laid up on the couch after knee surgery and my DD was in the kitchen, baking Christmas cookies with a friend. I dozed, listening to the murmur of their voices, enjoying the smell of chocolate and oranges, appreciating the lights on the Christmas tree I had put up before my surgery.
Tonight, Jeanette will take the train to New York after work in Princeton, to meet an old friend at the newly refurbished Rainbow Room.
Sally is puttering around the fireplace kitchen in her medieval farmhouse in Najac. She is replenishing her artist’s energy after having just sung a solo Christmas concert for the villagers of Cordes, another medieval wonder village nearby.
Katherine is on safari in the Serengeti, getting ready to fly back home two days before Christmas.
Flossie has been renovating a new home in Edinburgh and at the same time, setting up her Welsh country house to receive her far flung family, all together for the first time in six years.
Friends, women, all over the world — Moira in Connecticut, Lisa in Germany, Vinita in Delhi, Malena and Benigna in Kolkata, although I think they move to Bhutan for the hols. Gloria in Mexico City. Lisa in Merida has a big new puppy. Maia in Chicago is nursing her newborn, my darling grand cousin, Mila, just a week old.
I never forget that whilst all these interesting and lovely things are going on, there are people suffering all over the world. Suffering on a big scale, like the Syrian refugees in Jordan, girls stolen by Boko Haram, students slain in Pakistan, and suffering on a personal scale, Mariana in Vancouver, navigating her first days and first Christmas without her beloved.
Life holds all of us. Your circumstances and experience are due to luck: of the place and moment you were born. Live the life you’re in, gratitude for the blessings and compassion for the troubles.
There. I just had my Christmas, thinking about all of you and writing this post. The lovelies, my tribe.
PLEASE! In the comment box below, tell us what you are doing right now! or what Christmas means to you, or how you will be spending Christmas.
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