Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our windowsills are thick with Christmas cards--one of the sweet perks of being married to a pastor--and from my favored perch on the couch's corner, next to the bookcase where I nestle my tea on a coaster atop the whole Anne of Green Gables series, I have a pretty good view. The family photos, the blue sky and peace doves, the gold foil and nativity scenes nestle against each other, a lovely parade.

But of course life isn't just all twinkle and glow: today I have a headache. My eyes burn after a night with very little sleep (new neighbors upstairs). I'm working on two writing deadlines and a semester starting the day I return from family holiday visiting. The thermometer hasn't really been budging above zero degrees Fahrenheit. And the daylight--what daylight? Yesterday's Solstice, which I sought to welcome with deep calm, was mostly a day of bewilderment at how people managed to settle in places where winter sunrise and sunset are fewer than eight hours apart.

Today, though, the sun came out, and as I sat here I traced its progression as a block of yellow brightness against the wall. Of course, this movement meant sunset, as the west-facing window threw that sun across the room--sunset before five p.m, when it hadn't risen until 9:14 a.m. (Oh, sun! Don't you want to stay a while? Could I brew you some tea, some coffee? Would you like a butter cookie? Would you like a chocolate? Would you like to tell me a very long story before bedtime? Could you also get me a glass of water, please? I'm not ready for lights out yet!)

But as the patch of gold slipped its way across the north wall, the north window, the north windowsill, it illuminated those cards, bit by bit, until it rested on a white card, taller than the others, with silvery embossed pine trees and a flourish-formed "Hope" in red. The sun illuminated that word's glitter, and it felt to me like a message, an assertive and important and still quiet message.


My story is perhaps a little bit kitschy? It is a little too tidy? Well, yes. It is not a whole picture. That moment passed altogether too quickly, and the room is dimming, and the neighbors are noisy and I don't want to cook dinner tonight, really, and I just wrote this instead of the deadline writing.

But the moment happened, and I wanted to name it, and to share it, because sometimes we miss the assertive, important, quiet messages in all the hubbub or the headaches or the distraction. Today I was blessed by seeing it.

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