Tag Archives: peace

Message send failure. 

I’ve saved all the text messages my sister and I sent to each other this year.

I thought it would be comforting to be able to look at them when I’m sad and know that we connected when everything else got stripped away. I saved them but now it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because somehow my last message to her went astray. It didn’t send and now when I look at my phone it has her name and next to that is the line “message send failure”. And I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. I’m not sure whether to be distressed or comforted. You see I know she would agree that in some ways “message send failure” sums up our relationship perfectly. We spent a lot years trying to communicate with each other but neither of us were very good at getting the message across. It was only in the last months of her life that we managed to strip everything else away and speak the same language. The only language that’s left when all else is taken – Love. 

I’m so grateful that we had those moments. Moments where we could look at each other and know that nothing about the past mattered except that we loved each other. Not perfect love, real love. Love that doesn’t need the other person to live up to your standard. Love that sees all the bumps in the road we walked together and all the cracks in each other’s character and says, “that’s okay, you are still beyond precious to me”. So I suppose that in the middle of the pain of saying goodbye to my sister I’m learning about love. I’m learning that love lowers the bar to include us all. I’m learning (in my sister’s words) that “imperfect love is still love”. 

Maybe, most of our lives could be summed up as a message send failure – each of us speaking a different language and neither of us understanding the other- but really, that’s okay. That’s okay, because when I scroll past the failure I can see the heart. I can see her message to me “hey bub, love you” and I know that whether the text got there or not, the message finally did and really there was no failure….. 

  

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Packing up the Year

 

There’s a song I sing in our house. It’s a jaunty little tune that I made up when the kids were small to try to make cleaning up a fun thing. It never really worked but it did keep me from going insane while the boys complained about the slave labour I was subjecting them to.  It’s very upbeat and goes like this… “It’s pack up time, it’s pack up time, let’s put those toys aw-a-ay”.  I still sing it, and now they just roll their eyes at me and tell me they’ll clean if I will just stop singing.  Why am I bringing this up here? Well, because the end of the year is coming and it’s pack up time! I have a tradition each year on the day after Christmas (Boxing Day).  I call it “packing up the year”.

As I go through the house gathering wrapping paper, setting aside the toys that we’ve somehow already managed to break and taking the ornaments off the tree, I also pull down all the accomplishments, blessings, challenges and disappointments that this year has held.  I sit down in precious moments of quiet and take a good look at each and every one.

This year, I will hold in my hands with a sense of joy and satisfaction our many wins as a family.  I’ll marvel at how our sons have grown both in stature and in character.  I’ll celebrate the fact that my husband has loved me devotedly for 15 years.  I’ll enjoy the way that I have started writing (instead of just wishing I had).  I’ll love the laughter and silliness of our home and even the way that our youngest discovered bottom humour.  I’ll hold each of these things and be thankful that 2013 brought them my way.  I’ll sit and smile and replay them in my mind before I gently wrap them up and tuck them away for a time when I’m older and small feet have grown to go wandering.

Next to come down are all of the challenges.  Those things that once looked insurmountable but now make me want to whistle, “I am woman”.  I’ll look at the way I spoke up for things I believe in, the business my husband branched into and the 25kg that I lost to get into my healthy weight range and I’ll laugh a little.  Before I pack these challenges away I’ll say to them; “you looked scarier from a distance.”  I’ll be thankful for what each of them has taught me. Because of all these challenges, I will go into 2014 knowing that nothing is impossible.

Finally, I’ll go looking for the things we’d all prefer to hide at the back of the tree. The sad, old, falling apart ornaments of failure, disappointment and grief.  The ones that we would like to forget about but that we really need to deal with.  I don’t like looking at these but I hold onto them for a minute and ask myself “restore or salvage?”  If the answer is restore (for instance in the case of a difficult family relationship) then I set it to one side and make plans to repair it.  If the answer is salvage, then I take whatever lessons I can from the situation and make peace with the loss and brokenness, then I put it down and move on leaving it firmly in the past.

That’s how I pack up the year.  I do it to cultivate a habit of thankfulness, to celebrate life’s victories and to cement its lessons.  It’s a time to make peace with the past and room for the future.  What about you?  What joys will you hold and caress and store safely for quieter days? What things will you polish with a small amount of pride? What do you plan to restore or salvage? How will you pack up the year?