The Gift of Presence

Merry Christmas from my home to yours.

In trying to write the annual holiday letter that accompanies the annual Christmas card, I was pretty uninspired. Perhaps it was because the letter is most often sent by families with young children and my girls have both been away (at college) for two years, which means I am missing many of those day-to-day anecdotes.

But I finally found inspiration in an unlikely place—my kitchen. I was arranging all the holiday cards and photos from family and friends, when suddenly I stepped back and really looked at what was there. I saw the beautiful handmade card from a friend I’ve cherished since sixth grade. I saw photos of cousins I used to read Winnie the Pooh to, now adults with children of their own. There were cousins and friends and former colleagues. There was the family of Rob’s female friend who introduced us—now married to a male friend of mine—with our godchildren. The family of a former girlfriend of Rob’s, and another of a former boyfriend of mine, with their families. I saw a beautiful quilt of cards and photographs that told a story through the people who have touched my life in ways that both humble and amaze me. And I felt inspired to write about that.

Our lives are filled with school and friends, dating and college, marriage and children, finding, losing and leaving jobs to find better, more fulfilling ways to spend our days. We get busy. We move or our friends or family move. We lose touch for months or years-sometimes forever. One day we get a Christmas card and- if we stop for only a moment- we remember. We see a photo or read a letter and the time that’s passed vanishes. We remember when these people were not so far away and wish we had spent more time, paid more attention. 

And so my wish to you in this season of giving is one of presence.

Time vanishes, never to be recaptured. But we can remember. We can acknowledge. We can celebrate. And today we can be present –truly present—as we create tomorrow’s memories. 

Lorraine SchuchartComment