There’s something about this season that leaves me wistful.
There’s a large part of me that wishes in my heart of hearts that I could go and worship on Christmas Eve in my home church. It goes beyond the desire to be at Kenmore Presbyterian – I want to be at the Kenmore Presbyterian of, say, 35 years or so ago. Specifically, I want to be at the late service (the adult service) sitting with my folks, the year when I dropped my (unlit!) candle and it rolled under the pews in front of us… so Dad and I held his candle together and sang Silent Night in harmony. I want to reclaim the eggnog and fruitcake shared with Grandma and Grandpa Wyman, and I want to wait with my sister at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning… while Mom and Dad ‘made sure Santa came’. I want that magic to occur all over again.
Obviously, I know I can’t return to these times that now exist only in my memory, but I desperately want to some days. I’ve worked some of the traditions into my own family (eggnog thankyouverymuch) and we’ve incorporated some of Bill’s family traditions as well. Each year, something changes as we get older, and I know that as years go on change will occur.
Although I’m wistful, It’s all good. Change is not the only constant… love is there as well, and that is enough.
One of the things I struggle with is the expectation on the part of others that things won’t/can’t/shouldn’t change. It doesn’t happen so often with the folks who are there all the time, in the middle of that slow ebb and tide, but rather the occasional folks – the ones who drop by once a month, or a couple of times a year. For them, the change is less manageable, and more of a jolt to the senses. Sometimes anger is expressed, or frustration. I get it, I think. I’m just not sure what to do with it.
See, I think there is an expectation that the Church (add in whatever group you choose here… book group, knitting, Bible Study, Tai Chi class, Moms Support, etc.) will always be there regardless of whether or not you are. That things will continue on just as before, and will remain the same. Therefore, it’s possible to step back into the group and things will pick up where you left off… except, that is as likely as my ability to return to the church and family of my childhood.
Things change. And although the natural process of time changes things of its own accord, imagine the change that occurs to the group when you uproot yourself for other adventures? When you’re not able to sing in the choir, or attend the support group of Caregivers because you’re now spending several months in Florida or have opted to pursue a new degree? Regardless of the validity (and importance!) of the reason, without you the group changes. Wouldn’t it be terribly sad if that weren’t the case?
We cannot reclaim the magic of what was. We can remember it, and honor it by not worshiping it but rather understanding its context and celebrating new opportunities and new memories. More importantly, we can realize the impact our lives have on each other, especially when we are in close community, and we can honor those currently present by not wistfully wishing for a time that has past.
Cheers! To Christmas Past and Future, but especially Christmas Present!
(did someone say presents?!!)