Giddy, giddy, giddy! I get so giddy with anticipation as Advent comes to an end and we approach Christmas! I love Advent (see previous post) and all the inner work and calm presence that it provides. But I find myself yearning for the fireworks and happy joy that is Christmas!
I’m restless, anticipatory, finding it difficult to live in the present moment because I’m looking ahead to Saturday, planning my trip to my daughter’s home … then my brother’s … then my Dad’s; envisioning everyone opening the presents that I’ve chosen for each of them. Giving gifts is one of the best parts of Christmas! (Being together with those we love is the best.) I try to put careful thought into the presents and that makes it all the more delicious when I see the recipient’s happy smiles and I know I’ve hit the mark. Yippee!
I took a vacation day today and I’m glad I had a lot to do with my restless self. In the morning, I had two lab tests: bone densitometry and mammogram. Both went smoothly; in and out in an hour. Stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things and bought a pretty bouquet to take to the cemetery for my mom. After the cemetery, I had a hair appointment in the afternoon. Full day and kept me busy.
The cemetery at Christmas is absolutely THE most festive and joyful place to be! Christmas decor explodes in a riot of color and sparkle all over the hills of Good Shepherd. It’s been raining for the last 5 days, but today was nice and clear so there were a lot of families there putting up their holiday decorations; everyone working together, chatting, being family. Red, white and yellow poinsettias in big, foil-covered pots; white picket fences with gold, silver and colored garlands; cardboard fireplaces; giant red-and-white candy canes; angels, snowmen, Santas, wreaths. And the Christmas trees everywhere! Brightly, joyfully decorated with ornaments and garland wound round and round. I wish I could take pics of it all and share with you but it really has to be experienced in person. One family puts up a large cardboard fireplace and hangs stockings on it with each family member’s name; each year, more and more stockings are added to the fireplace. It always moves me; their family clearly consists of those who are still here physically as well as their loved one who crossed over.
And that’s the other beauty of the cemetery: you can feel the air almost vibrating with all the love there! I wish I could share it with you; it’s utterly amazing and always stops me for a moment as I become accustomed to the vibration there. I believe that when we think of others with love in our hearts, we often create a strong, loving connection to them in spirit, whether they’re with or without a physical body. (When my daughter was a child, if we were apart, I’d think of her or she’d think of me with love and the other would feel it with absolute certainty. My mom did that, too, all my life, and even now I sense her loving presence at times.) The physical sense doesn’t matter; it’s temporary anyway and can get in the way of the deepest connections we can make. The forever part of our selves—our spirits—are joined in a beautiful wave of love.
It’s that love connection that makes the air vibrate, I think. As people decorate with their families, they’re loving those who are with them, they’re loving those who have gone ahead of them, they’re remembering their ancestors and their people, where they’ve come from, where they’ve been. It’s all infused with a powerful, abiding, enduring love. The connections blend and blur, filling the air, the earth, the sky, the decorations, the Christmas trees. It’s an amazing experience; I think it’s especially powerful there because ALL those people are gathered there on behalf of loved ones, thinking, remembering and creating a whole lot of love energy concentrated all in one place. Even after they’ve left, that palpable energy remains in the places they’ve been. I’m really glad we still have cemeteries where so many can gather to generate this amazing and loving experience.
I hadn’t been to the cemetery since July when I broke my ankle. Mom’s headstone was in sore need of polishing and the leaves needed to be cleared off. I tried to pry the flower vases from the holes in the ground but they were tightly and stubbornly stuck. I wrestled and wrestled with them until one of the cemetery workers driving by stopped to help, using his shovel to pull the vases out and then to clear the overgrown grass around them. I was grateful for his kind help and wished him a Merry Christmas as he smiled, waved and drove away. I arranged my flowers, cleared away the grass and polished and polished Mom’s headstone until it gleamed. I knelt and prayed, sending her love, sending love to my tios and tias, my abuelos, my cousins and friends who have all gone ahead, adding to the existing loving energy in that place. My restlessness became a calmer, quieter, loving giddiness. Filled with love from all that energy, I’m soooooo ready for Christmas.