Thursday, December 8, 2022
On Tuesday mornings I go to a nearby assisted living facility and sing with folks on a memory unit. Every week a group of us gather in a circle and sing songs (“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street”). This week we sang Christmas carols. Virginia is a faithful attender. Most Tuesdays she sits close by, appearing to be sleeping in her wheelchair while the rest of us sing. This week we were singing “Silent Night” when I heard her voice for the first time. I looked over and she was quietly singing along with everybody else. Her eyes were opened, but she had a far-away look on her face. When we all finished singing, I looked over and Virginia appeared to be asleep again.
There are stories we will never know. Unknown stories about folks we encounter for just a brief time and even stories unknown about folks close to us. I would love to be able to ask Virginia about when she remembers first singing “Silent Night.” I wonder if she remembers who taught her those words. I would love to hear more of her voice.
In the hurrying and scurrying of these December days it matters that my spirit does not get swept along too fast. It matters that in this season there are pauses enough to pay attention to what is near me. There can be glimpses of stories in so many daily moments. There are gifts to be received and given in these moments that are holding us all.
There are also stories unknown about folks who are close to us. It would be impossible to hear every story from folks in our inner circles, but I would like to hear as many as loved ones would like to share. Stories of connections and discovering and reconciling. Stories of messing up and making a way through. Stories about setting out on adventures and stories about coming home. Ray Bradberry invited us into this story-listening practice when he said, “Treasure this day and treasure yourself. Neither will ever happen again.” This Advent is reminding us about that as we are making our way through these December days. One story sung and heard at a time…
Thanks for Kay Clontz Starnes for this picture
Loving God, you hold our story. From our first breath to our last, you journey beside us as we make our way. Guide us on, Holy One as we listen and watch for you. Amen.