You could wait your whole life

Not so many words tonight. Only bone-cold temps. Deep snow. So many cookies. Sleeping family. Full belly.

So much pressure. Pressure to give and receive joyfully, pressure to be positive, pressure to bake and wrap and unwrap and reduce reuse recycle. The cat has the right idea – curl up on the dog’s bed and self-clean.

Our Israeli neighbors have it down – skip the presents and the lights. But then they find themselves feeling isolated, wondering what their traditions are this time of year.

I want to strike that balance between full and empty, between festive and chill.

Everyone who walks through my door needs a good listening to, a check-in, a balancing, a check and balance to name the thing they already know to be true, which is never a surprise.

Not so many words tonight, after trudging with kids through pick-ups and drop-offs and parties and presents, after so many parking tickets – for shame.

I don’t even put music on, only listen to the tapping of fingers on keys, the hum of the heater that costs us so dearly, knowing that in a way everything this week is on hold, push pause, wait for January, then go, out of the gate, a new kind of rush.

Either that, or some slice, slice of life, spiked with cloves and whiskey, hot, clearing your stuffy sinuses, bringing you first up, and then down, down for the count, the countdown to nothing.

You could wait your whole life for the thing you think is just around the bend, imminent, will change everything. But that thing, it keeps not coming, and your life is happening just as it is, nothing different, nothing separate, nothing foreign about it. You could wait, you could wait, you could explode with not knowing.

Or you could do that other thing, that thing that seems so hard but ultimately comes as a relief, which is to sit. To be still. To be quiet. To just be.

7 thoughts on “You could wait your whole life

  1. Holly says:

    I find myself waiting too much. I wait for news of jobs and smart decisions and life-changing events. But then I wait for your new words to appear and suddenly I sit, and I read them, and the sageness of the moment hits me square in the chest and I thank you for giving me those seconds of contemplation and relief, Jena.

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  2. suagnthi says:

    Coming out of lurkdom to say I read your blog on and off. I love your writing. Thank you. From my memory, one of your blogs about Aviva, about laying her next to your grandma was absolutely lovely. I need to go back and reread it, but I remember shedding a gentle tear.

    Just want to say thank you, HAPPY Hanukkah, MERRY Christamas and a fabulous 2009 to you and yours.

    Love,
    Suganthi

    PS I found you through Meg Casey.. which reminds me..I need to drop by her blog too.

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  3. Jen Ballantyne says:

    Merry Christmas Jena, I am sitting in stillness this evening across the other side of the world, just catching up on my blog reading and thoroughly enjoying yours. Love to you, Jen xxx

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  4. Beth P. says:

    …while you’re making other plans…

    thanks, Jena, as always for a heartful look at the sugared-down phase of the holidays. i’m sitting today, can’t say it’s in stillness, but it’s a reasonable facsimile.

    going to take the dog for a long walk in that stillness! And then later make some egg nog. those are the goals for today…

    love to you–from one part of the cold country to another…

    Like

  5. Shelli says:

    It seems like I’ve been just sitting for two weeks now as the weather has been dreary. It’s been nice to be lazy, but I’m also ready for spring.

    Happy Holidays!

    Like

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