Our house is back to its pre-Christmas state except for a few poinsettias scattered here and there and a vase of pine boughs decorating the piano.￼ Gone is the tree and one of the infant beds I borrowed and most of the toys on loan have been gathered in the entrance to be returned to their owners. That’s a wrap for another family Christmas.
But as memories will, they linger. Looking out on the sliding hill this morning, I can still see bundled up figures carrying the red plastic sleigh to the top for another, maybe faster, trip down. And as I awake in the dark of the early morning, I think I hear the sounds of jet lagged babies filtering through the air from the other side of the house.
This home, for a short while, held it all: chaos and excitement, long family dinners around the table after the babies had been bathed and put to bed, friends and family visiting. As life will have it, it also had its dramas: the night the adventurous twin was stuck in the bathroom and the adults were orchestrating a rescue worthy of the navy seals, and then there was the call in the middle of the night that my ninety-six year old mother was in respiratory distress and might not make it until the morning.
After returning to the house from a long day spent in vigil over my mother who was now stabilized but still far from out of the woods, I sat on the couch watching my adult children in the kitchen bantering about who could make the ultimate sandwich. Tears welled up in my eyes. How could there be so much sorrow and joy all at the same time? I thought of this paradox again as I was returning from another day at the hospital and saw the January full moon hanging impossibly large and pink over the pale blue mountains just below. Beauty and sadness holding hands, each compelling in very different ways.
Glennon Doyle Melton who writes a blog called Momastery and is the author of two memoir style books has coined the word “brutiful” for this phenomenon. Life is brutal and beautiful, sometimes both at the same time – maybe often both at the same time. I am wondering if it is love that allows us the grace to see the beauty in the brutal. I hope it is.
Happy New Year to you all. It’s good to be back.