This is my first Christmas in over 20 years without my husband. But while I get pangs of sadness, like when I realized he wasn’t going to be able to take the Christmas decorations out of the attic for us Thanksgiving weekend, it’s not all bad. I’m making an effort to get out and enjoy the Christmas season.
Last Wednesday night, while my new partner was rehearsing for Scrooge in a musical version of A Christmas Carol, I took his daughter and my youngest daughter (who are within 6 months of each other), out for dinner and to look at the decorations in our local communities.
The historical courthouse in a nearby town was decorated with colorful lights.
My daughter and his daughter having fun together.
This outdoor ampitheater in another local town is beautiful. Over the summer, my love and I listened to a free symphony orchestra play for us while we had dined alfresco. What a magical night that was!
The tree lighting ceremony for this tree is coming up soon. I can’t wait!
It’s been a difficult few years, but I’m determined to not let the sadness intrude too much this Christmas season.
One of my young actor acquaintances was feeling blue. He posted on his Facebook page:
When I was young I saw the world so vividly and brightly colored, but with every year it gets just a little more gray.
I felt compelled to write this response:
Jake, it takes a bit of effort, but you have to go out and create your own magic. What I found as a amateur photographer is that there is so much in this world that is beautiful. You just have to learn to look. I’ve taken photographs of dragonflies on a blade of grass, frogs peeking out of algae-covered pond water, and majestic White Egrets and Blue Herons mid-flight. I’ve been captivated by these breathtaking moments of Nature.
I began to pay attention and really see the world. I began to see there is beauty in an old falling apart gray barn, as well as beauty in the juxtaposition of shadow and light.
I began to appreciate the sun so much more after having seen the skies darkened by clouds.
And though I really hate winter, I love going out on my front porch at midnight after a snowfall when the moon is out. The world really becomes a white wonderland. And the snowflakes on my railing glisten like diamonds.
And then there’s all the candid shots of people I took when they weren’t looking. I have some beautiful shots of people being playful and being beautifully serene and being sweet with each other.
You can take a look at my photo sets on FB to see what I mean.
And I dare you to learn some art journaling. Part journal, part art project, using paints, colored pencils, pens, and even watercolor crayons. And I know that not many men would think about doing that, but there are indeed a few men out there who do.
Don’t wait for the world to bring you the color you wish for. Go out and look for it or create it yourself.
You are such a sweet young man, and a wonderful actor. Don’t let the hard parts of life cause you to forget there’s still so much that is beautiful.
And as I reflect on my life, and re-read this passage to my young friend, I am in wonder of my own wise Self. I wrote for myself as much as for him, to keep in mind my own intention and needing to be compassionate with myself and to be the light and the hope that I seek.
I am in between Christmas traditions.
I know what we’d done for the past 14 years with the children since we’d lived in this house.
And while I get pangs of sadness and heartbreak because I don’t know what the new traditions will be, I know that it’s up to me to create new ones with the children.
I won’t let the sadness of what I don’t have anymore bring me down.
I am keeping my intentions positive, and looking for local things to do to get in the Christmas spirit.
I’ve visited other towns who have had decorations put up.
I know of a tree-lighting ceremony I want to take my daughters to.
I’m taking them to my sweetheart’s musical play A Christmas Carol, to watch him play Scrooge (I’ve already seen it twice and it’s spectacular!)
I know of a newly built outdoor ice skating facility that we might try (even if we fall down a lot).
Yes, things are different this year than last. But I don’t have to let the pain of the mistakes I’ve made overshadow the joy that is still there to be found or created.
My wish for you is that no matter where you are, you enter this holiday season with hope of discovering or creating something beautiful and uplifting.