It astounds me— and happily so— that some friends and family far, near and wide, still send out Holiday cards, photos and/or little newsletters in stamped envelopes. Now when the mail comes through the slot, it is so refreshing to see them nestled between the bills/ ads/ pleas that go straight into recycling. We keep them in a silver bowl and always read them once more around the New Year, sometimes keeping some to cut up for future gift tags.
As mentioned many posts ago, I was responsible for the annual Holiday newsletter with some decorative border copied at Kinko’s, my wife often made the image for a card (also Kinko’s printed) and we spent a labor-intensive evening signing the cards, addressing, stamping, return-addressing and then stuffing envelopes, drawing from our old handwritten mailing list of friends and families, updated in our address books. It was work, but a good kind, going slow enough to take time to remember each person and often write a personal handwritten note to select people. Some ten or so years ago, I switched to the e-mail version and though I still take a moment to savor each name on the list, it doesn’t have the same resonance. That old Faustian bargain of trading efficiency for intimacy.
Still though, better than nothing to take the time to look back over the year and share the news with those whose paths you were destined to cross. Somehow the spirit of communion can come through even on brightly lit screens. And now the electronic version can hold many more photos than the printed ones and larger ones at that.
If you’ve read this blog all year, no need to go through the news portion that gathered together all the highlights. But I’ll share my opening and closing paragraphs in hopes that they might, as the Quakers say, “speak to your condition.” Hanukkah just begun, Solstice a sunrise away, Christmas around the corner and Kwanzaa right on its heels, wishing you all the happiest of the Holiday Season.
No Virgin Birth or oil burning beyond its shelf life impresses me more than this miracle— that if I’m sending this and you’re reading it, it means we both are still here one year since the last Holiday newsletter. Alive and breathing and (as far as I know), still walking and perhaps jogging or biking or keeping up with yoga or Pilates. And most importantly, awakening each morning with the possibility of feeling yet deeper the gratitude this life deserves, inching one step closer to the person we were meant to be, nearing that possibility of forgiveness and healing and coming more fully into the love we’re worthy to both give and receive. Hooray for it all! It is enough…
(Here some two pages of news. And then…)
Back to the opening. Just to be alive is enough— but it helps to keep actively engaged! To feel the world respond, to admire and praise and be inspired by the active engagement of others (all of you!), to give thanks for the blessings of health and friendship, to feel the world’s hunger to stop the hurt and harm and turn more decisively to the help and the heal. So to quote the poet W.H. Auden as we turn to the New Year, may we “stagger onward rejoicing!”