Hope you are enjoying a lovely holiday weekend. I know I am. After sluffing off writing for the better part of a week while preparing for Christmas, and then sitting around in my jammies watching movies with my kids for the last couple of days, I'm ready to get back at it. I thought about waiting till after the New Year, but really, what better time to start than right now? The sun is shining, the mood is still festive, and I've eaten enough forbidden chocolate to feel overindulged, so why not carve out a few minutes for actual productivity? There is no more effective boost for a positive outlook on the future. Here's to jump-starting your New Year!
Though not totally unheard of, we're expecting a brown Christmas in my neck of the North this year. The dusting of white we woke up to here in the higher elevations will likely be gone before noon, and if not, then tomorrow's rain will surely wash it away. Saturday's forecast calls for a few more flakes - timely, since that is when we'll be cutting our Christmas tree - but for next week, temps in the 40's and 50's are predicted. Santa will be mud-bogging this year.
We Northerners have a love hate relationship with snow. We're fond of our white Christmases, skiing and sleigh rides. We curse the treacherous road conditions, bulky layers and lack of vitamin D. But I have to say, this year I am less ambivalent. Climate change aside, I'm good with having no snow. Maybe it's my age, but if it felt like November all winter, I'd be good with that. The last time we saw a weather pattern like this was the year we got the kids their own snowshoes - figures! That year, we were well into January before we got any snow to speak of, and if I remember right, the remainder of the winter was fairly mild. I was ecstastic. When you would do just about anything to avoid months of boots and heavy parkas, you welcome El Niño with open arms!
Most of my children are old enough now to bundle themselves up for the outdoors, but since they rarely do, I'm appreciative of El Niño temps. Would that the rest of the world would treat them so gently, but it is a stormy time we live in. I've sheltered them for so many years against the harshness of realities I'd rather they didn't have to face. That is becoming increasingly difficult. There are tempests they must now learn to weather.
Here at the beginning of this Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis, my hope for this snow-less Christmas is that they will look to the namesake of El Niño, who is also gentle with us. He came on the very first Christmas, and it wasn't white then either.
Have I talked to you about the importance of bridges? They are a necessary part of our journey, helping us access that which would otherwise be out of reach. Most of the time though, we don’t even notice them. For example, the knowledge and experiences of previous generations are the bridges that enable the present one to advance.
People can be bridges too. I have always had a sense of being one, of helping people to understand others, though recently I discovered the need to bridge my own gaps. There are issues I need to resolve and heal within myself in order to offer lasting assistance. It is hard to help folks get to where they are going when you don’t know where you belong on the road, or what direction you’re heading. Knowing who and what you are, and how and where you fit into the scheme of things, is helpful not only to yourself, but to those looking to you for aid.
Being the best bridge you can be is a beautiful thing, because isn't helping each other along this journey what life is all about?