Lingering in silence


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I was watching a Hallmark Christmas movie tonight. In the movie and for the second time today I heard ‘Silent Night’ played soft and sweet and lingering. I love that song. I love it best of all when I’m outside on a crisp winters night carolling with friends and family, and we’ve sung Frosty and Jingle Bells and other more sacred carols, and suddenly we are singing Silent Night. A hush comes over us and whomever is listening at an open doorway, and I feel my soul caught up and carried up up up into the night sky. It reminds me of THIS POST from many years ago, so I’m sharing it with you tonight.

Funny, when I read my words four years later, I recognize I really have slowed down. I’ve been choosing to do things this week that have nothing to do with Christmas prep and everything to do with loving people. And I’m OK with less presents and more presence. I hope my family is too.

Calm and bright,

Lesley-Anne

Here is what I wrote on November 28, 2009:

I’m waiting.

As I post this, with a heavy feeling that I really should be doing other things on my lengthy to do list, I remember last December when the snow came early… and how it changed things for me then. So, I’m waiting for the snow, and hoping for change.

Have you noticed how much quieter things are after a fresh snowfall. My husband commented to me that everything seems to slow down a little when it snows, almost a subconscious response to the forgiving blanket that wraps its way around our lives.

The panic of the Christmas rush is pre-empted by the need to clear the driveway. Conversations break out with neighbours as they choose to do the same. Plans are made for future conversations, eggnog dates are set, and people reconnect. Priorities are revised, and humanity wins over consumerism for a time.

The children get caught up in it as well. The X-box 360 and iPod are left untouched as they rush outside to create snow forts, speed bumps in the street, and havoc with well aimed balls of packing snow! I watch them from the window, full of memories. When the time comes, they reluctantly leave their winter playground and come inside for dinner, rosy-cheeked, energized and full of conversation.

Here in the moderate clime of Kelowna the city seldom shuts down, but back in childhood days in Toronto things sometimes ground to a halt until the snow stopped falling and roads were cleared. Schools closed, people went home from work early, and streets were strangely hushed as people left their vehicles parked and walked instead.

The very things that happen because of a snowfall, are, to me, the things that are most needful in my life. I need to slow down more often, and be fully engaged in the moment. I need to take time for people, to dig out from under the To Do List, and have a good old conversation with my neighbour, with my kids. I need to step back from the consumer-based version of Christmas and consider what this season is really about.

That is why I love the snow and it’s ability to get our attention. Love it or hate it, it has an impact on us. We can’t ignore it. We can’t control it. And it’s silence speaks.

So I’m waiting… for the first snow fall… for another first silent night.

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Lesley-Anne

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Post Christmas Random Ramble


I am so thankful for all of you. Those who drop by Buddy Breathing and stay a while, those who offer something in response to my writing, those who are regulars. This place has become a touchstone for me, somewhere to share my ideas and rants, even the messy stuff off the top of my brain that needs to come out! And knowing you are ‘out there’ makes it all the more worthwhile. So, thanks for listening.

I wish each one of you a Merry Christmas, and for the New Year may you continue to find people in your life with whom you can ‘buddy breathe’… share oxygen… fresh air… with one another. Breath deep!

Sol deo gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Things to remember for next year;

1. Absolutely, positively, (if at all possible), join in the experience of a Christmas Eve Service… VOLUNTEER…sing, usher, act, organize… whatever… just get involved! There’s a feeling of ‘bigger’ that accompanies this… not so much about having my house in order, my gifts wrapped, my cookies baked… more about preparing for others to experience the message of Christmas… Emmanuel, God with us! And if you absolutely, positively, can’t help out, then please… attend a Christmas Eve Service somewhere! Stop, consider, breathe, pray, believe in the miracle of Christmas personally.

2. Get up early… the long day was wonderful. Sure Bob and I were a little tired at first, but nothing a coffee or two with a drop of Baileys can’t help. By afternoon we were able to rest, read, relax and listen to the sounds of our kids chilling. Even the dog was happy to nap on the couch beside us. Yes, as my Dad always said, “The morning is the best time of day.” Mind you, I’m talking 7:30 AM, which probably sounds like sleeping in to those of you with teeny tiny excited kids! There are definitely some advantages to having teens!

3. Buy less. Every year it’s the same feeling… I intentionally try to buy less. I think I’ve put a lid on the excess and then I see all the presents under the tree… worse still, all the wrapping around the living room after we have finished opening up the gifts and I feel… a little nauseous. For those who say set a budget… sure, that’s fine if the bottom line is ‘value’ of what has been purchased… but I’m talking pure amount of ‘stuff’ that now needs to be put away and absorbed into our already abundant life. I mean… come on!

4.Write more Christmas cards. I enjoy writing. I love getting mail. Perhaps others feel the same? Sure I hand delivered some cards this year, but next year I’d like to mail them out early in December, perhaps tuck in a photo or two, and bless others with something they can hold in their hands. Of course email is good, and Facebook is a great way to share a greeting… but, still, the handwritten paper in hand kind of greeting is much more personal… don’t you think?

5. NEVER, EVER, EVER, cancel the caroling party again. No matter the number of folk who can’t make it, no matter if no musical accompaniment is available, no matter how easy it is to just say, “Oh well, we’ll try again next year!” DO NOT DO THIS! Even though I delivered a basket of cookies to the seniors in place of our melodious voices, still I missed sharing a meaningful evening with them. I missed our home being full of friends afterward, playing party games, sharing stories and treats, I missed the stress of ‘managing’ the crowd as we walked around the neighbourhood to sing, and I even missed the angst over whether the coffee would be ready in time, or the food enough for everyone. All of it. Mostly I missed the feeling of contentment and pure joy as we gathered to sing carols like ‘Silent Night‘ and ‘Joy to the World‘, our voices softened by the cold night air, snow gently falling as we gathered at someone’s doorway and met the smiles on their welcoming faces.

6. Let the dog chew the wrapping paper. Emmy was so good. Sure she sniffed every package, and she certainly tried to steal various presents right under our noses, but mostly she was really good. Claire wrapped a bone in paper and let her rip it open. I think Emmy enjoyed the paper as much as the bone! Not that she ‘ate’ it, but the sound it made, and the process of tearing it off the bone… I could almost swear she was smiling! We only put her in her kennel for a short time, but that was simply because we should have taken her for a walk earlier… she was a bit stir crazy by mid afternoon… yikes, earlier than 7:30 AM? Which takes me back to item #2!

7. NEVER STOP reminding myself what this season is really all about. Never stop posting reminders on Facebook, or reading the Christmas Story in Luke, or the prophecies of our Saviour in Isaiah. Never stop reflecting on the miracles found in the story, how the angels came to earth as messengers, how the shepherds found everything ‘exactly’ as they had been told, how a virgin conceived and bore a child… the son of God, how God came… in the form of a teeny tiny baby, to earth, and that’s just the beginning of the story! And most of all, how God IS with us… in each experience of who he is, every tiny little way that he shows himself to us, in creation, in music, in people. How God is here, and in the most intimate way possible, desires to be part of each of our lives.

8.Never stop sharing my story. May my life be an open book to who God is, and what he has done and is doing in my life. May I be bold, honest, transparent, reverent. May my life be filled with opportunities for God’s story to shine through me.

9. In the words, and expressed in the life, of my Uncle Dr. David James Cook, who passed away this Spring at the age of 71,

“LATHER LOVE LAVISHLY”…

on your family, your friends, your neighbours, those you meet every day…

because you never know. Time passes by so quickly, kids grow up, friends move, parents pass away…

Make the most of EVERY moment.

I miss you Uncle Dave. I miss you Art. I miss you Buddy.

Peace.