Story telling. Good morning from chilly Vermont. For twenty years I wrote an annual Christmas letter, spending hours representing my family’s year in the most honest, heartfelt, and humorous way. I’d start in November, crafting each sentence, reading it aloud, trying to make the most impact with the least amount of words. Because I only allowed myself one page, with enough space for a personal line at the bottom. And I’d start the page with a funny quote from each girl, a one sentence snapshot of their development.
But all that stopped in 2015, when I flailed about for weeks, trying to find the humor in our year. Words eluded me, and so I didn’t write. Same with this year. The good news is that I still have words for my books, and for this blog. So I thought I’d try something different. I’m tucking my Christmas letter in here, right now. And it always starts like this:
“Dear friends and family. This year Serena got out of the murky swamp of acute Lyme Disease and got on the road to healing. Livia went to a new high school and found her way to being an individual amid a class of 116. Tim rediscovered the sweetness of the woods and spent much of his free time wandering and exploring the large tract of land behind my parents’ house. I started knitting again, choosing an easy prayer shawl to warm my aging father’s shoulders.
We all completed a full year with our loyal dog Scout, whose keen nose sought out illness and he pressed his little head and dog nose into the lap of anyone ailing. My dad built a few plant shelves for our windows; Serena added plants to her room, and I added plants to my office. We survived a mold outbreak and blocked sewage pipes, avoided a gas explosion, and repaired my car from two separate scrape and run incidents. No one looked at our house, still for sale for the third time since we’ve moved in. We had a wonderful summer vacation in Maine. Our problems went with us, but we worked around them to enjoy every bit of goodness we received.
We have no plans for the year ahead. Better to focus on breathing and see what unfolds. Better to focus on strengthening our family bonds to weather the impending storms. And in the end, I at least will continue to choose joy. For 2017, I wish you all less–less suffering, less worry, less burden. And I wish you all more–more joy, more good health, and more love.
A happy Christmas and New Year.
Check back next week for another segment of Finding Home.