Thursday, December 25, 2008

how i spent my christmas eve


I was lying in bed late last night, trying to remember the last time I didn't go to church on Christmas Eve. And to be honest, I think last night was the first time ever. I've gone to church on every other Christmas Eve of my life.

As I approach the new year, I've been reflecting on the year past. Normally New Year's doesn't mean that much to me, since I measure my life by my birthdays, and not by the calendar year. But at this time last year there were many new things just about to happen in my life, including a job that I began in the second week of January, 2008. How strange, one year later, to be leaving that job and searching for another.

It's about balance. I loved the work, but it had taken over my existence. I was doing noble things, but had set aside many of the activities that I loved most, including my creative writing and visual art. In the end I realized I was waking up unhappy more days than not. Life had lost its juice. I yearned to be in a place - live in a place - that would feed my inner callings. Less and less did it seem like that place was Toronto.

As a result, I have upended my life and moved away. Or should I say towards?

I find myself facing new beginnings once more. I am in the waiting place yet again. Exhausted from my move a month ago - all that painting and unpacking! - part of me just wants to hibernate for the rest of the winter. December has been a blur, compounded by frequent commutes back to Toronto for my work with the Chorale.

I've observed a few of my favorite Advent rituals - the Wesley-Knox Christmas concert with Denise Pelley, the RCCO Carol Service - but last night I wasn't ready for Christmas to happen. How did the days go so quickly?

I enjoyed the Chorale's Indigo concerts within the last week, and I've even made it to Sunday services at various churches this month. The music is running through my head. The scriptures have been read in my presence. I wasn't feeling the magic, though.

Yesterday I woke up intending to do some cleaning in my apartment and maybe (hopefully! finally!) unpack my library and set up my meditation/yoga room. My best friend and I had tentative plans to hang out in the afternoon, and then I was likely going to go to my new/old church for Christmas Eve.

When I tried to go online first thing in the morning, however, I realized my phone line was dead. That one event threw a spanner in the works. I couldn't pick up Laurie when she got off work early, since I had to wait around for the Bell technician to show up. When he finally finished, it was nearly suppertime. Laurie wasn't picking up her phone, and her voice mailbox was full.

I packed my bags for my trip to my sister's this morning, and ate some supper. Laurie finally called me back, and that's when I made the decision that I wanted to do nothing more than spend Christmas Eve with my best (and Jewish) friend, working on my apartment.

I fed her some of my supper and put her to work folding boxes and flattening packing paper. Sometime after nine we finished for the night, all my books unpacked and safely in my bookshelves. Both exhausted, I drove her home, and I'm sure she hit her bed as quickly as I did.

The evening couldn't have been more perfect. I got to spend time with one of my favorite people, who sometimes feels left out at this time of year; we laughed a lot; I now have a meditation room; did I mention I got to spend time with one of my favorite people?

Christmas in the past has been about catching that warm fuzzy feeling, for me. I think I'm there...

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