Month: December 2017

That Far Away Star


Three days before Christmas, I sit in a Chick-fil-A waiting for my car to be serviced. It is not yet 8:00 AM and two millennia since a great star appeared in the sky offering healing and hope to a world in decline. It is not snowing. That already happened, a rare thing here in Dixie. I still feel its magic.

I am off work for the holidays, filled with anticipation. I am not rushed or worried like so many. I am simply going to write until my car is ready, then there is grocery shopping, then off to Home Depot- I need a lamp. My pug did not mean to break the old one. She had to get her toy squirrel, right? Besides, the thing needed breaking.

After sorting out the lamp, I will drop off groceries. Then, I am off to the bookstore for coffee and more writing, and perhaps I will pick up a couple of little stocking stuffers for a few family and friends. Books are good stocking stuffers, yes?

At any rate, I sit in my booth with my yogurt parfait thinking about the ghosts of Christmas past and present, planning out my day and my next book. Next to me sits a lovely, young couple, about the same age as my daughter. How did I get so old?

A friend they know greets them. It has been a long time. In youth, a long time is anything over three months apparently. For me, until we reach a decade, it has been no time at all. I smile at the monster and mate that is time, and proceed to eavesdrop on the three new adults (let’s use the literary genre to tag them, shall we?).

I put on my headphones pretending to ignore those around me and listen. The couple, hardly able to contain themselves, announce they are expecting. They are so happy, so full of hope and life, and I am thrilled for them. New life is always new possibility for all of mankind.

Their friend, it transpires is newly married. Yes, he finally married her. Again, youth and time, so funny. I am happy for him too.  He and his wife have recently purchased a townhouse like real adults sometimes do. As I continue to silently pry, he reveals the townhouse he now lives in is in the same neighborhood I used to live in until this past June. I perk up, wanting to remove all pretense and interject myself. I loved my old neighborhood. I am astounded when the newly married young man invites the expecting couple over for a New Year’s brunch and gives them his address. It is my old address. This is the young man who bought my old house. Should I ask if he has any of my mail? No, I keep listening, smiling like a madwoman.

I am so happy. I don’t know why. I say nothing. The couple has finished their breakfast and both have to be off to work, the last work day of the year. They briefly mention how Christmas had changed with their respective new families. Oh Lord, they have no idea of all the new beginnings that will top old endings. How wondrous. They depart, leaving me with my laptop and coffee, a ghost of things now gone, and a spirit of hope of things to come, still following the light of that long-ago star.

Remarkable. Life continues, chaotic and cruel at times but so full of hope and possibility. I can live with that. Or die for it. Whatever is required to keep the ball spinning, to keep creation expanding.

Merry Christmas, world. May hope rule over despair in the New Year. Cheers.

Twenty Five Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago today, I gave birth. It’s the only truly remarkable thing I have ever done. With a few billion people on the planet, this probably does not seem like much to some. Well, those people would be wrong. Our children are the greatest thing we give to the future. Hope made flesh.

Sometimes people grow up wrong. They become a stain in the world, bringing hate and derision wherever they trod. Yeah, that happens. Not the fault of the birth. Society is a sick, desolate and dying thing. It eats potential like locusts, often stamping out such promise before a first breath is taken. Well-intentioned people with too much power often destroy the possibility of untold numbers of people in their desire to control, in their fear there that is not “enough” to go around. They never tap the potential to find the bountiful reservoirs that can be produced by human ingenuity left to its own devices.

In every new life, there is a hidden and unknown potential to change the world, to move mountains, to create, to solve the unsolvable, to save the hopeless, to see the invisible. In every child, there is this potential no matter who the parents, no matter where the child is born, no matter the circumstances.  Every child born on this earth has the potential to better this world no matter their gender, their race, their heritage.

Some would spare these untapped potentials the inevitable pain of life. Certainly, young and as alone as I was, this was an option given me. No, I found myself holding Pandora’s Box. And I opened it and found hope.  This is what I saw in my newborn daughter. Hope and possibility. From the day of her birth on a cold December day to this day and for all the rest of my days. Happy birthday, Kate, and thank you for coming to visit this spinning rock in this dark corner of the universe.