There are so many pieces of December that I love. So many once-a-year things happen. Traditional and treasured tasks. Re-living some things I've been doing since I was a child. The music. The rituals. The gatherings and all the chach-chaka that accompanies them. This year is no exception. Brogan's home on college break from Guilford, Sam's playing in band and singing in choral concerts. Decorating the tree. Seeing again the ornaments that I watched Mom decorate the tree on Prairie Avenue. Look around, look around how lucky we are to be alive right now. So many spaces and places that I love in this season.
We can plan and plan. We can hope and anticipate. We can do our darnedest for things to come together and to fit in place.
And then things happened. Expected or unexpected, things happen. Intentional or unintentional things happen. There are shifts and jigs and jags. There are twists / turns and sometimes things we've hoped / planned / envisioned / worked for... Just. Don't. Happen. Sometimes it's a two-match fire.
I’ve working my way through the traditional `December crud,’ and yesterday morning all I wanted was a fire in the fireplace and a good book. Setting everything up for success, I got my slippers, a hooded sweatshirt and grabbed a blanket. Warmed up some tea and found my book. Last on my list was to build a fire in the fireplace. As a Girl Scout, I can’t tell you the pride I have in building a one-match fire. Each time, that experience warms my heart. It helps me feel competent and on my game. (And yes, I am seeing some eye-rolling as you are reading 😊). Build the fire from the bottom-up, put things carefully in place, light a match, sit back and enjoy. As life should be.
Not yesterday morning. Instead I lit the match, brought the little flame to the rolled up newspaper and even with my verbal encouragement and stick-prodding, the thing went out. Fizzled really. Sputtered and gone.
Sometimes it’s just a two-match fire.
These can be hard December days. Illness. Grief. Losses of jobs or dreams. Strained, struggling relationships. Emotional fatigue. Just naming a few. Some of us are just out-of-rhythm. It’s not easy being in the world some days. It’s not easy seeing smiling faces and hearing the caroling when our hearts are heavy.
Sometimes it's important to not give up on the fire. In those moments, we just have to take courage, find another match, shift the paper and the sticks around a little bit. Pay closer attention. Claim. Or reclaim. It's up to us. It matters that we choose and to risk a second try.
(p.s. It turned out to be a great all-day-long fire. The intention, the trust, the commitment of finding that second match made all the difference. )