I'm participating in Reverb10, a daily writing prompt throughout the month of December related to reflecting on the previous year and planning for the next. You can read more about why I'm doing it here. Or read all my Reverb posts here.
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?Now.
It's Christmas morning and I am sitting in a little coffee shop in Vientiane, Laos. A gigantic faux fireplace has been built up the wall and cheesy holiday music is blasting out of the speakers. The sun is shining, we slept well last night, my bug bites are healing, I have enough to eat, Die Hard I and II are on the television later tonight (yippie kai aye!), I'm excited about my life, I count a group of wonderful people as friends and family, we've actually found a pub that is doing a 'real' Christmas dinner where we'll be heading later today, and I feel such gratitude.
I am a lucky girl and as I spend more time in this beautiful country, with people who have very little but who are still so warm and joyful, it's hard not to realize that this notion of 'alrightness' is a bit of a luxury. Most of the people here are too busy trying to find enough to eat, working insanely long days, trying to support their families and trying to overcome the health problems that are intertwined with poverty. And I'm sitting in a Western style coffee house pondering the degree to which I think everything is going to be alright for me.
All I can hope is that I never become someone who forgets my incredible fortune: I am healthy, I have resources at my disposal, I have love. I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but in this moment, on Christmas morning, everything is beautifully, perfectly alright.
As I child, I used to cry my eyes out on Christmas night, grieving because the day was over and because even though I knew it would come around again in a year, it would never, ever be exactly the same. Even as a five or six year old, I felt time slipping away too quickly and it broke my heart. I still feel that way sometimes. Every time we leave a place, I find myself wondering if we'll ever be there again and if we are, what it will feel like. I think the holidays must make a lot of people feel this way - so many Christmas shows and songs are so sad and wistful. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer stop motion cartoon (poor misfit toys!), Miracle on 34th Street, It's A Beautiful Life ... Frosty the Snowman is basically a symbol for our mortality... and let's not forget the Peanuts Christmas special, which always makes me cry.
This is all to say that I think it's important to do less crying over the passage of time and spend more time feeling grateful for every moment. And that's what I'm going to carry with me into the next year.
Merry Christmas everyone!