At the end of the mini series “Genius,” Einstein is dying, and as his long time secretary looks at him with sadness, he takes a flower from an arrangement and holding it in his hand says, “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.”
I looked at Tom with a childlike excitement, and said, “I learned that all by myself!”
Just a few simple lines, and yet they hold within them a great awakening, opening up a whole new world for us. You don’t even have to be a genius to discover it yoursełf. It reminds me of when my father-in-law had his cataract surgery. He said he could see things with such clarity and crispness, and the colors were so vivid. When our own blinders are stripped away we can also say, ” I can see clearly now.”
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
Everything starts from a seed including us. I wonder if we live within that shell all our life with the seed being our soul and our lifetime here on earth being a gathering of all we need to slowly begin the painful process of cracking open. Many of us have felt the harder blows of life that leave an opening so wide that it goes straight to the heart of the soul. Whether our cracks are big or as small as a tiny papercut it is how the light gets in and once we experience the warmth it brings the more our soul craves it. Like our hands reaching upward we begin to sprout moving toward the unknown yet a knowing that it’s the natural process of who and what we were created to do. Yes, there is a comfort in staying within this place we’ve existed, and a fear of being exposed and vulnerable to the unknown. It’s never easy to step outside of our comfort zone to leave behind all that’s been a part of us, but the light continues to pull us toward it, and it is only in the letting go that we can fully begin to blossom in the fullness of the light.
Most importantly let us not forget in the process of breaking free…to ring the bells that still can ring, and forget out perfect offering. Look around there are cracks in everything. It’s how the light gets in.
“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.
I was thinking today that this will be my 63rd Christmas celebration in my lifetime. Wow! I know, that’s a lot of Christmases when you look at it that way. When I was a child, I was more excited about what I was going to get under the tree than for what Christmas actually stood for. When I had my own children, I tried to teach them that it was Jesus’s birthday we were celebrating. As much as a child can try to articulate the true meaning of Christmas it still takes a backseat to the anticipation of the gift beneath the tree. The true meaning comes with time, maturity and the challenge that faith brings into our life.
There’s nothing I really need or want at this point in my life, materialistic anyway. However, there’s still a bit of that child in me that lights up with an unexpected surprise. But the real gifts come when our consciousness is in line with the spirit within us. It is than that I am able to wrap my mind around all the gifts that Jesus’s birth has to offer. It is than that I get down on my knees and look beneath the tree for the gifts that are hidden from sight. There is always a gift to be unwrapped at Christmas time, and many times it’s the same gift over and again. Like the gift of love, hope, joy, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, friendships and family. Celebrating Christmas for 63 years has giving me the opportunity to reopen these gifts over and over again, but each time seems like the first. With the same childlike anticipation I’m eager to gather up my gifts, and let the spirit of Christmas lead the way into the New Year.
“I’ll be home for Christmas”
You know this familiar song at Christmas time. It congers up all the wonderful comforting feelings that come with retuning “home” again. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things about going away on vacations is at the end when I walk through my front door. “Home!” ET pointed up toward the sky as he longed to find a way back to his planet. “I’ll be home for Christmas” those five words keep playing in my head, but with a different slant upon its meaning. It’s more of a coming back to that from which I’ve come in the spiritual sense.
Symbolically we all eventual leave home like the prodigal son wanting to explore and experience life for ourselves. There is a pull toward “something” unknown, and our need to find out what it is drives us. So we set out on our journey, getting lost along the way many times. Like the prodigal son ,we begin to wonder aimlessly until that longing for “something” leads us back to that from which we came, “home.” But like ET, our desperate need to find a way home looks impossibly. If we listen we can hear those five words playing in our head pointing the way that we long to go, “I’ll be home for Christmas. For it is in coming home for Christmas that we are reminded of why Jesus was born. He came to show us the way back home to where we belong. We all must come to that point when we long to come home once again for Christmas. Upon our return ,we realize what we’d been searching for all along was right here where we left it. What we realize at the time of our return is how necessary the journey away was. For it is only in the leaving that we learn what we had all along, and it is in the retuning that the meaning of “coming home for Christmas” is truly understood.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, What! You too?I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis
I had to laugh when I saw this quote as it reminded me of the many years gone by, and the different friends I’ve shared this kind of moments with. I’d forgotten how I use to picture each friend as if I had them tucked safely within a pocket of different sizes and color. I picked each friend because there was something about them that I valued, loved and had in common. I still have many of those pockets. Some still hold strong and some became worn and tired as friends slipped away. I’ve been able to resew some of the old ones back on and rekindled the friendships that slipped away for a while.
The great thing about my friendship pockets are that I can reach inside for anyone of them and enjoy their unique quality. If I want someone to laugh with, I reach inside that pocket. If I need someone to cry with, I reach in that one. If I need some understanding there’s another one for that. If I want to share a hobby, I reach into this one. If I want to explore and learn something new, I reach inside that one. If I find myself in a place of need in which I can find no pocket to reach into, I pray that God will bring likeminded people into my life, and He has. You know the most precious time we spend together is not when it’s about me or them, but in the sharing of each other. The moments when we realize that we’re not the only one.