Happy 2012. I hope that this finds you all well.
I know that it has been a long time since I’ve either blogged or written you an email. 2011 was a tough year for me personally.
I took down my Christmas tree the other day. My tree is filled with handmade ornaments. I have one that my grandmother made years ago. I have tons that my kids have made at school through the years. I have ornaments that I made as a child. I have ornaments I bought on my trip to China. If you’ve read enough of my writing, you know me. What can I say? I’m a sentimental, romantic fool. . .
But probably my favorite ornament – the one that reminds me of the spirit of the season and the meaning of Life – is the ornament that was handmade by my mother. It is a butterfly made out of construction paper. In 1963, she and my Dad had their first Christmas together. They had been married 4 days. They did not have much money. Both of them were just out of college and my Dad was preaching at a very small church. My mother decorated their first tree with ornaments made out of construction paper. But what I love more about this ornament is that it is torn and taped together. One of my boys as a toddler (probably Caleb) found the ornament and ripped it up. I was devastated. I taped it together as best I could.
If you have lived your life long enough you look back at the tapestry of life that you have woven and you see the beauty that has faded. You see your scars and wounds that you have done your best to piece back together. You look at your current relationships and realize how much you love them and value them not only for who and what they originally were, but you almost love them more for the struggles that you have survived together through the years.
I feel that I continue to try to understand Love. I don’t mean the emotional rush that you feel when you are next to someone that makes your heart melt and your knees go weak (although I certainly understand that as well), but that place of giving and accepting – that place where 2 people’s lives join together and despite the tantrums and the failures and the frustrations, they care about each other on a deep level that goes beyond relational boundaries and personal weaknesses. They care. They see each other for who they are and they truly care.
My ornament represents Love. It represents so many people in my Life – friends, parents, children, siblings, and former lovers and partners. I see these people and the wounds we have taped back together. I see the fading of the colors of our faces and bodies. I see the way that they sometimes are barely held together. And I love them.
I encourage you in 2012 to Love. Give more of yourself than you have given. Reach beyond your limited view of Life and see the people around you for who they are – human beings just like you. The things you find most frustrating you have within yourself.
We live in a polarized world – a world filled with judgement, radicalism and hatred. We can Love and it starts with these threads we weave around our immediate tapestries. It only extends from there.
I wish you the best this year and always.
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