Sunday, January 14, 2007

Storing the Christmas decorations for another year

Last weekend my wife and I packed up the Christmas decorations for another year. This final ritual means that the holidays are really over. In many respects, the break was a good one. By listening to public ratio and staying out of shopping malls (apart from a visit to Borders books), we had a non-commercial Christmas. Long trips to visit grandchildren were postponed until less turbulent travel times; this probably kept me from joining stranded multitudes who spent several vacation-days at the Denver Airport.

There was more time in the country, which occasionally reminded my wife and me why we mostly live separately, but also reawakened pleasures of relatively unstructured companionship together. There was time to complete long deferred chores in Hume, at my apartment and office. While the ‘to do” list of such chores remains long, crossing off few of the more nagging items was gratifying. (Of course the list didn’t get any shorter. New items were added.) My wife and I enjoyed good health, though some members of our family endured one of those horrific holiday periods that included several emergency room visits. This recalled one bleak holiday period my daughter spent in intensive care, after an emergency room trip that saved her life.

Some time ago, I asked my counselor for a key to successful relationships. Her response as worthy of a Zen Buddhist master: “no expectations.” Even now, I’m not sure I grasp how to apply that deep wisdom to my relationships. But it does seem a useful guide to a holiday season that is lived more fully, even joyfully, “in the moment.”


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