The holidays are almost over for me. All I have left to do is pay the bills and pack up the few remaining holiday adornments. It was, indeed, a lovely holiday with lots of memories to get me through the winter; but it was a bittersweet time as well.
I could post a long litany of things and circumstances that made my holidays both happy and sad. Perhaps as one gets older the precious moments are more pronounced in the process of memory and emotion. You stop asking the unanswerable questions and just lean with the turns and trust that grace is sufficient. This holiday season was very intense for me; but now that I reflect on it, grace surrounded every breath, movement, word, and thought.
As I look out my the window in my office this morning, I watch the bittersweetness wander through the backyard. I see Dauber pace the perimeter of the yard, searching for his buddy Luther.
I knew the day would come when I would have to make a tough decision about my 15 year-old chocolate lab. I wrestled that angel all through Advent and Christmas Day; but a few days afterward I took Luther to the vet for his final visit and then laid him to rest beneath a statue of St. Francis. I know that Luther is now more at rest than I could ever imagine. I am also grateful that our family has 15 Christmases with him to remember.
The bittersweet seasons are those that humble us with grace and deliver hope through gratefulness and thanksgiving. They give us peace in quiet ways and gently push us ahead. They are beautiful in that we get a glimpse of the rich, made-by-grace history resting in the core of our souls.
This afternoon I’ll finish up my de-decorating chores and that will be that. If I can muster up the courage, I’ll also open up my bank statement and get the bills paid. But before I get myself on task, I think I’ll spend a little time with Dauber in the back yard to reassure him and to reassure myself of the grace that surrounds all.