“There are places I remember all my life/ though some have changed” – In My Life by John Lennon
John Lennon’s words filled my heart today as I gazed out the restaurant’s windows to see the hectic Christmas scene outside: cars racing about parking lots, people in hurried motion and trains going on through.
I was resigned to turn away from all this “sound and fury”, when I noticed some solitary maple trees – right in front of me. Void of their leaves now, they were impressive in their calm, unchanging nature … silent observers against the busy background.
For me the missing leaves are our memories lost.
What will be remembered of our lives years from now? I believe it will be the faces of people who really made a difference.
“And these memories lose their meaning/ When I think of love as something new”
This year, we are having Christmas at home – our farmhouse – where we’ve lived now for over 30 years. Most of our immediate family and a few close in-laws and friends are expected to make an appearance for Christmas and/or Christmas day dinner. We also plan to have a real Christmas tree (maybe), but I’m sure … real Christmas cheer.
Why are we going all out this year? I think it’s about aging and time. I mean, of course, we older ones – with less certainly than before – can’t take relatively good health for granted, and our friends, our kids and their kids, will never be this age again. It marks a defining point. We can all stand together and marvel at the season and collectively be grateful for all the blessings we’ve been afforded. Happy faces.
I remember a story about a boy who wanted badly to hear the bells of Santa’s sleigh and how years later he can still hear them when others around him no longer can.
I thought to myself, has it really been that long since I heard those silver bells? I finally settled on the realization that if we can’t, it’s probably because (believe it or not) we get too old, too fast.
But, the real point is that no matter what our financial or family situation is this Christmas, we still have each other … a chance to share and give something of ourselves. Maybe the only way we will ever really hear those bells again, is by believing we can.
As I finish this edition, I’m reminded, once again, of how simple life is and how incredibly complex I try to make it: worrying about things as if they mattered, when they don’t. It’s almost beyond belief – but then again, perhaps that’s what Christmas is all about
“Though I know I’ll never lose affection/ For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them/ In my life I love you more”
May we hear the joyous bells ring out for us this Christmas … as they’ve always done … as they always will.