Empty-handed.Posted: December 23, 2012
Christmas is very difficult for me.
Five years ago my family went through a painful rift, and fragmented we remain. I’ve never recovered. Now, every time Christmas approaches, it seems like all of my faculties of self-care fall apart. I want to be surprised. I want to be taken care of. I want everything planned for me. It’s like the last bastion of childlike helplessness, wanting a mother and hearth and home and orientation. I do a few things every year: open an Advent calendar, listen to Winter’s Coming Home, and light the candles of my Advent wreath. But most of my beloved Christmas rituals feel very empty. And I feel scared to make new ones.
It seems to me that having children addresses this wonderfully. Old rituals find new life in children’s hearts, and so they become new for the parents, too. But I’m my own child. Usually I’m really good at mothering myself, being both the protector and protected, giver and receiver, lover and beloved. But as Christmas approaches, paralysis sets in, and I feel like I arrive empty-handed, just needing to be taken care of.
How do I start again? I think part of why I’m in Belize is trying to answer that question.
As my beloved monks sing in “Song of Creation,”
In the beginning, all was empty and void.
God’s spirit moved upon the waters.
Out of the darkness came a word that brought new life:
This is so good, let there be light.