This past week I experienced a first health scare with the dog, who had ingested a hard plastic condiment container that caused a partial blockage of his digestive tract. Luckily, the problem resolved itself without the need for surgery and Dante is well again. When yesterday arrived, I felt more than ready for my usual Christmas Eve ritual: parking myself on the couch next to the dog and watching repeats of Doctor Who all day long.
When I was a kid, I had quite a different routine for Christmas Eve. That was the day when Grandma Carol would arrive for her holiday visit. The house would be thoroughly cleaned and the guest room prepared by the time she arrived in the early afternoon. Luggage, Christmas gifts, and holiday sweets would find their way into the house. While the adults sat in the kitchen sipping coffee, we children would arrange the gifts around the Christmas tree and begin speculating on what might be in the packages.
I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a great deal over the past year. By pure coincidence, asteroids passed by Earth on her Halloween birthday and again on Christmas Eve this year, bringing her memory to the fore of my consciousness even more intensely.
The embrace of a grandmother
The compassion of a tree
The infinite expanse of the human heart
These will endure forever
We could almost say that both the ultimate purpose of life and the supreme joy of life is the continuation of life itself. Yet, the continuation of life is always enshrouded in uncertainty, precariousness, and pain. Despite this, we choose to carry on in the great endeavor of life and, from time to time, we even find happiness.
December 25, 2015