|Other people leave their traces in our memory|
Unexpectedly, the holiday when gratitude wells up within my heart is not Thanksgiving, but Christmas. I guess I associate the former holiday with home and family and solidarity, but not so much with thanks.
At Christmas, though, I devote a lot of time to thinking about my family and friends. In order to choose gifts for them which I think they’ll enjoy, I have to recall their tastes and interests, likes and dislikes – the things which make them who they are. I begin to realize how lucky I am to have them all in my life.
It’s actually quite humbling, I find, to pause and consider the other human beings who have happened into our company. Sometimes our meetings are so fortuitous, so providential, that it all seems perfectly arranged for our happiness and benefit. For those of us who are religious, this makes us even turn to a divine power, in order to give thanks there as well.
Just the other day, I spent some time with a friend, and he was stoking the boiler he uses to heat his house. It was quite dark and snow fell on the hot furnace, from whose mouth curling ribbons of flame licked out among the flakes. All the while as I stood there, my friend went about expertly clearing the flue, emptying the ashes, reloading the wood, chatting with me about the process and how it works.
I realized that even such a simple interaction with a person can be incredibly valuable. And the reason is because there is a poetry in it. In fact, I came home and wrote a poem about watching him working there, but there’s poetry even when no words are literally written down.
|The real gift is in the details!|
Every person, therefore, has a creative spark, which allows him or her to forge bonds with others. Memories and experiences serve to build each link and draw us together. Stoking a fire or sharing a drink, saying a prayer or listening to a story: so many little actions are the true Christmas gifts which we can give each other. The material objects are lovely, too, but their significance is only emphasized by mutual kindness and generosity.
I’ve always been amazed by the connections which so many people have. In any group, you’re likely to meet someone who shares some common ground with you – perhaps even a common acquaintance – and in this way a glowing, living network is drawn around the world. Some people break the pattern, which explains the presence of tragedy and horror, but even so, others always step in to rebuild the nexus and repair humanity.
When I tell people that I like to draw, or sew, or write poetry, it’s not uncommon for them to become self-deprecating. ‘Oh, I’m not artistic like that,’ they say. But really, everyone is an artist (or can be) in their human relations.
|Our patterns can be so beautiful!|
After all, when trying to be present and trustworthy and generous for others, a great deal of creativity is needed. No one’s perfectly giving or perfectly patient, or perfectly anything, for that matter. We have to work to fit into someone else’s pattern. And yet it’s so worth it when we make the effort, no matter how tiring it may sometimes seem.
At Christmas, thinking of such things, I realize how others have made the effort to do this for me. I may be the novelist – the conscious artist – but they really are just as creative, if not more so. My parents and brothers, my friends, even my blog readers – all these have done their best to support and help me in the past year, putting up with my grumpiness and complaints, encouraging my joy and dreams. Looking back at all these efforts for my sake, how can I feel anything else but grateful?
So, on this Christmas post, I wanted to take the chance to express my thanks, not only to friends and family, but also to my new acquaintances in the blogging sphere. I feel happy everyday that people are reading my words and leaving some thoughts for me to consider as well. The posting schedule has been less frequent lately, due to life concerns, but with the New Year I’ll be back on track and excited to read others work as well.
Merry Christmas to you all! I wish you happy, restful holidays.