Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Musings

I was unwrapping some Christmas decorations the other day and found a copy of this essay I included in our Christmas cards last year.  Many of you have already read it, but I think it bears repeating this holiday season, or any other season for that matter. 
I’ve been thinking about blankets of security.  I’ve been thinking how our families can and should provide an insulating layer around us against the buffeting winds that we often encounter in the world.  Take this past month…my son, Joe drove out from New Hampshire in his pickup truck to retrieve another pickup that my Mom had given to him in her will.  This old pickup, a GMC, is the one I learned to drive in, and it hasn’t been far from a garage in many, many years.  The plan was to buy a tow dolly and haul the old, tired thing back across the country and fix it up to drive.  Well, Joe also came out to build a couple of ladders for us.  I so admire his woodworking skills and spent many happy hours being his apprentice as he carefully crafted ship ladders out of slabs of poplar.  Completing a project, talking about whatever came to mind, working in silence and just being together was sincerely one of the best times of my life.  But, let me get back to my point.

So, Joe left, towing the GMC behind his pickup and made it only as far as Homestake Pass before his truck blew its engine and he was stopped dead in his tracks.  I am certain that my Dad was looking down from above and said, “That boy is not going to make it and I’m going to help him break down pretty close to home so that the family can take care of him.”  Well, ultimately my brother Bob and his son Wes retrieved Joe and both trucks.  Over the course of several days Bob and his wife, Joanne fed Joe Thanksgiving dinner and took care of him as if he was their own son.  Bob and Wes helped him replace almost every part on the old truck and then they sent him on his way again.  This time, the ol’ GMC and my boy made it all the way across the country and he is home with Dad’s pickup and life can go on.
So, I’ve been thinking about the incredible blanket of support wrapped around Joe during this time.  I called upon my Dad’s spirit more than once to help guide the tools as they fixed up the truck.  Bob and Wes gave unselfishly for days as they replaced part after part.  My daughter Aubrey was there with a place to stay and home-cooked food.  Noel and I helped any way we could from a distance.  And Joe was insulated from the sometimes fierce winds of the world until he could make it on his own again.
When all is right with the world this is what families do.  We envelope our children with enough safety to give them confidence and a springboard for launching themselves into a world that can sometimes be harsh and bitter.  From my parents I came to know that I was always loved and this knowledge gave me the confidence to be the individual that I am.  Now, I know that not all experienced safety in their families when they were children.  But, pretty much everyone I know has worked to provide security for his or her own children.  Sometimes the contrast of knowing what we did not want when we were growing up helps up to know what we do want for future generations.  And yes, I have felt the spirits of our parents and my dear brother Jack as they continue to watch over and guide us.  I know they live just outside my view and this knowledge gives me immense comfort.
By the end of this Christmas season, Noel and I will have been with each of our children.  We will bask in the warmth of their love and a shared sense of history.  We will marvel at the wonderful people they’ve developed into, see them nurture and support their own children, and we will be reminded that somewhere along the way we did something incredibly right.  My heart swells, as I know that this is the only Christmas gift we need.
This holiday season, may you be enveloped with your family’s love.  May you be supported and give support in return.  May you and yours be bolstered by the bonds that families share so that you may enjoy the best that 2010 brings.
                                    You are needed.  You are loved.
Merry Christmas!


1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said! I call it "our circle of love" = family. Sometimes even if you're in silence, it's the comfort that they are there with you that makes it special.