Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Longing for Light

We wait in darkness.

This is the time of year when I wake up and it's dark...and I leave work, and it's dark! Sunlight is hard to come by, as grey clouds, rain, sleet, and snow dominate the weather.

But the season also brings light...twinkle lights, Christmas trees, candles, Advent wreaths, menorahs, solstice! The light is coming back to us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

What will that light bring?

This Advent, I don't want the light to simply dispel the darkness, I want the light to shine in the hidden nooks and crannies. I want the light to reveal things I've forgotten. And things I never knew. The light is about revelation...it's about illuminating the deepest and best parts of ourselves.

This, of course, is scary. Marianne Williamson said that it is our LIGHT, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Why? Why are we afraid to be our best, most authentic, genuine, true selves? I guess it's like standing on the street corner naked. Here I am, World. Judge me. Criticize me. Take your best shot. Compliment me. (Why is that last one the hardest to take?) But then I think of the people and things I have gained from being brave enough to be that best, most authentic, genuine, true me. I'll never understand why I made the very-unlike-me leap to join a writing group where I knew no one. To write and read new work to a group of strangers when no one had ever read or heard my writing before. But the decision changed my life in some of the most amazing ways.

So let's let the light come. One candle, one corner at a time.

either way, there is a light on,
either way, we're turning towards the sun!
--n. nields

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 2...

And already slacking. How's that for an apron wring?

Advent is about preparation...I'm good at preparing. Mental lists, to-do lists, a future rich with laughter and love--oh yes, I'm good at preparing to act. It's the follow through that sometimes proves difficult.

This Advent, I want to prepare with purpose. Not just to DO things, but to BE. Be a better friend, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, teacher, colleague, writer. Be truer to the person I know I can be, truer to the person God calls me to be.

I do believe this blogging, the space carved out for reflection will help me on the journey. I just need to honor the commitment, honor the time and space necessary.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tis the Season....

...of Advent, that is! And so, my friend D and I are back with our commitment to blog every day. I love Advent. And not because of Christmas! I love the preparation, the focus on getting ready, the mediation on one's gifts. So I begin with a reflection I wrote a few Advents ago...the magic of this season!

Santa is real. Ask the families at Immaculate Conception School in Alphabet City and they'll tell you. Seven years ago, their Santa visited the school for the first time. She watched the students line up quietly in the hallway, all in their uniform plaid, and she waved and smiled as they passed--eyebrows raised towards this stranger. She turned to the principal, a nun in her 60s dressed in full habit, standing tall at 5 foot nothing.

"Give me the names of those children who will have nothing under the tree on Christmas morning."

The next day, this Santa received a fax with a list of 16 names-boys and girls with their ages and sizes beside them. She called a friend or 2 and they hopped in the car. As they drove towards the highway lined with every store imaginable, they made a plan. Each child would get a winter coat, pajamas, sweats and a nicer weekend outfit. Every child would get a book, a puzzle and a toy. At each store, they took their assignments and split up, meeting a half hour later, arms fully loaded. That evening, they called more friends.

"You don't have to shop, but can you chip in to help give these kids a Christmas?"

The bags piled high and it really did begin to look like the Santa's Workshop in those old claymation movies like Rudolph. Each item was tagged with a child's name, age and size, grouped together by family. The teenage sons and daughters of Santa and her elves wrapped each gift, and in about a week, the sleigh--ok, the van--was loaded to head back into New York City.

The week after Christmas, this Santa had yet another note in the mail. Parents and children alike were thrilled and awed by this mystery Santa and her ability to provide the perfect gifts.

Over the years, the list has grown from 16 to 50 children. Every year, Santa and her elves climb into the car early in the morning, stop at Dunkin' Donuts for some fuel, and share the magic of Christmas with those who need a reminder that Santa is real.