Tuesday, December 25, 2012

the blessings of traditions

I am lucky to have stumbled into living and working in an amazing community. I came here mostly because my best friend from college had been hired here, and why not move to a place where you know people already? When I got here, I had no idea that I would become surrounded by an incredible community of like minded individuals. Talk about cashing in on some good karma...

One of the traditions we stumbled into is Christmas Eve readings. This was a Farm tradition, Nick, Devon, Kaiya and Caitlin at first, but one year they opened their home to all their friends. I can't now remember the first year we were invited, but we have spent every Eve with these people since sometime in the mid 90s. It's a classic Dickvale event-- delicious, gourmet pot luck and lots of great conversation and laughter. But it ends differently than all the others: starting from youngest to oldest, everyone has a chance to read a Christmas tale of their choosing. Over the years we've been graced with The Grinch, tag team readings of The Polar Express, various excerpts from A Christmas Carol, and many others. Devon would read King John's Christmas by A. A. Milne, and someone would read Gift of the Magi. The final reading was A Child's Christmas in Wales, read to us by Nicky himself. These nights were as powerful as any Christmas Eve service I've ever attended-- love, acceptance, and peace flowed through the walls, surrounding us all in a surreal comfort that follows us still.

Unfortunately, life marches on, and not always in a pleasant way. It's been 10 years since we shared a Christmas Eve with Devon. I remember that night like it was yesterday: the room was filled with friends and family, kids and adults of all ages. She had been fighting cancer for awhile, and we had lived our very own Magi experience that holiday season when A. bought her a replacement washing machine on faith that the money would come through. It did, and then some. I read something of my own creation that night, explaining how this 'young wench' hijacked Nicky's email list and said we were gathering money to help with the laundry. It was my retelling of the O. Henry classic, and how I got through that reading I'll never know--to read my own words to and about one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever been blessed to know-- well, let's just say it was a watershed moment for this fledgling writer and leave it at that. I think about that night often, remember my seat near the door and how the Christmas lights blurred as my eyes filled. And I remember Devon's smile as I finished...

Last night we were at a different home further out Dickvale, but the love was the same. The kids are older, and some of the faces have changed. Nicky and company spend the holiday at K's home in VT so the grandchildren don't have to worry about Santa's ability to find the right chimney. But as I looked around the room last night, I could see that this tradition is a part of all of us, and has extended well beyond those first years at the Farm. Even though she is no longer here on Earth, I could hear Dev reading along with WB "...and oh, Father Christmas, my blessings on you fall, for bringing him a big, red, India rubber ball!"

My blessings to you all, whatever your traditions. Hold them close, and treasure them, because you know not what the future will bring. Twenty years ago I moved to Peru, stumbling by luck into the perfect place for me to build my life. Kind people welcomed me into their world and allowed me to introduce them to some other people already important to me. My worlds of love have collided and overlapped ever since. It's almost like we live in Bedford Falls, with Tiny Tim a member of FPES. Our Christmas is not the biggest or the grandest, but it is exactly what I look forward to doing every year: gathering with friends, sharing good food, great conversation, and giving and receiving so much love.

Merry Christmas, to all of you. I have a Wonderful Life, and am surrounded by Magi every day. I am very blessed.

2 comments:

Terry said...

:)

Katie said...

Thanks for the being one of my connectors. I feel lucky that the relationships overlap, twist and turn, and enrich us. Beautiful piece you've written.