Conspicuous by your absence

A really short post from me today. I really wanted to share my thoughts on this …

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This is my Christmas card from Grandad this year. Nan always used to write all the Christmas cards. That he includes her (but in brackets) carries such poignancy. It communicates so very much in such a small way and that in itself is enough to make me cry, let alone the stirring of my own grief.

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Storytelling

Christmas & tradition is all about storytelling, isn’t it? One of my joys in this life is trying to truely understand the stories of the people I meet (be my experience of them fragmentary and fleeting) and to convey my stories. I’m finally settling with the certainty that all we ever, only, experience are shards and fractions of other people’s stories as they intersect ours and that these, in and of themselves, are stories in their own right. As perfect and complete as they need to be.

So I wanted to share a video of a snippet of my Christmas morning with you. I am blessed to be part of a large family and while our many stories don’t cross paths that often, something quite special happens when they do. It was background roar in the room (picked up nicely by the camera mic) of cellophane being twisted that got me at the time. The realisation that everyone in the room was focused on the tricksy unwrapping of the presents.

For anything to have us all focused on one thing (there were 15 or so of us in the room at the time) at any given time is pretty impressive. More importantly to me, I was a part of it. These are my loved ones and I belong here. It has been a funny old story to get to that conclusion involving 8 years of self imposed isolation from them. I’ll tell that tale another time.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I want to create my own traditions and I’ve realised I do it all the time anyway. Tradition can be as little or as much as just sticking your flag in the sand and saying this is me …

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… this is where I belong …

I belong here too

… this is my story.

As a postscript: talking about stories … I drove past our family home from my childhood today and my head was filled with memories of a time when my Dad was the master of the universe. Sometimes I still miss that story being part of my world.