Firstly, a quick apology that it has been a couple of weeks since I wrote. On Friday just gone I finally moved out of my apartment and back to my parents’ for now. However, the sale of my apartment is still not completed and for one reason or another, it’s been quite a chaotic time.
Secondly, happy belated Winter Solstice. As I was researching more information on the Winter Solstice this year, I discovered that Anglo-Saxon cultures used to measure a person’s age by the winters. They would say, for example, “I am ten winter’s old” or, “She is thirty winter’s old”. Something in that really made me smile so I thought I’d pass it along. From this point on, the light is slowly making its return!
Secondly, I really just want to take this opportunity to say a deep thank you to all of you for your various forms of support over the past year.
When I write and press the ‘send’ button on an email or blog post, I often wonder what on earth I’ve written and frequently doubt the beauty or use of what I offer. But then I’ll receive a reply from one of you beautiful souls out there and you’ll say something about the way in which the words were meaningful to you. At that point, I often feel as though I get to experience anything I’ve produced for the very first time and remember that I’m not an appropriate person to judge my own work!
As I write, I’m thinking of all of you I have connected with over the past year through classes, one-to-one sessions or simply via email or comments on the blog. I realise as I reflect what a privilege it is to share in and witness so many of your personal stories, experiences and challenges. Thank you for trusting me with your deepest thoughts and feelings; it is the greatest honour I can imagine.
Obviously, it has not been a ‘normal’ year for any of us. For some of us, the initial lockdown was actually a joy and a chance to slow down. For others, it meant longer working hours and a great deal more stress. Many people have lost their lives and they leave behind families and friends who are grieving. Even as I write, the father of a friend is in a medically induced coma due to Covid-19 and my friend herself has also tested positive, though with mild symptoms currently. For all of you who have been affected directly by this virus, my heart and prayers are with you.
What I know about all of you who read my work is that you’re a wise and loving group of people, each of you walking your own path with the ultimate intention of bringing more love, peace and understanding into the world.
This is no easy task! I salute you for your courage to face both your shadow and your light and for your willingness to keep going when all seems murky ahead. Though each of our paths is unique, there are many things that join us together and we can take comfort in that.
I want to finish with one of my favourite passages from one of my favourite books, Tattoos on the Heart, by Father Gregory Boyle. This passage touches me so deeply and I hope it will serve as a reminder to all who need it that despite anything you might think about yourself, you are already fully worthy and you belong here in this world.
In this passage, Gregory Boyle is recounting the story of a man called Jason, the son of two heroin addicts who had been left to raise himself and who had become a gang member involved with drug-dealing and various forms of crime. Here, Jason is no longer working with the gang and has got a job. He has just bought a dress for his daughter’s baptism, taking place in a few days’ time. Gregory Boyle writes:
“The next morning, on the way to a job interview for a better position, Jason was gunned down. Someone drove by and saw him and perhaps all his past had become present again. I buried him a week later and baptised his daughter at his funeral Mass. Water, oil, flame.
I landed on the gospel that I wanted to use at his liturgy. Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.” I like even more what Jesus doesn’t say. He does not say, “One day, if you are more perfect and try really hard, you’ll be light.” He doesn’t say “If you play by the rules, cross your T’s and dot your I’s, then maybe you’ll become light.” No. He says, straight out, “You are light.” It is the truth of who you are, waiting only for you to discover it. So, for God’s sake, don’t move. No need to contort yourself to be anything other than who you are. Jason was who he was. He made a lot of mistakes, he was not perfect, and his rage called the shots for a goodly chunk of his life. And he was the light of the world. He fit the description.”
Wishing you peace in your hearts this Christmas.
Love and courage,