Thursday, December 22, 2011

Timeless Moments

This is the use of memory:

For liberation—not less of love but expanding

Of love beyond desire, and so liberation

From the future as well as the past.
(from “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot)

For the first time in weeks, the house is quiet.

I am alone.

It’s a gift.

There was a time when our house felt as empty and lifeless as a fizzled-out balloon.

But not lately.

It’s been popping with beautiful chaos. Loud laughter and even louder electronic devices.  Phones and doorbells ringing nonstop. Televisions blaring from rooms that are usually vacant these days. Voices yelling calling from upstairs to downstairs and back up again.


I’ve loved it. It feels normal.

But, for a moment, I cherish this solitude.

I grab the huge stack of Christmas cards that have arrived in the mail today and a glass of tea, and head for the sunroom. There’s not much sun left, but it feels bright and cheerful there.

I savor each card.

Some are from local friends we see frequently. But more cards represent faces and voices from the past. College friends we’ve almost lost touch with. Friends from our early married days in Palm Beach. Childhood besties. High School cohorts. Former business associates. Random people we’ve met all over the place.

Some folks have been faithfully sending us annual cards for 35 years.

Until fairly recently, I kept every one of them.

Every picture and brag Christmas letter.

How can you throw away people’s stories? Thirty-five years of a family’s life in pictures and narrative.

But I did, finally. After the AVM.

I flipped through bunches like I was shuffling cards, said a little prayer of thanks for the friendships, and let them go. (The cards and pictures, not the friendships.)

I’m finally learning to live lightly.

Ironically, that makes the pleasures sweeter. Knowing that you can’t hoard the moments makes them more poignant.

So now I think…

Thank you so much for sending this adorable picture of your sweet baby. He’ll be leaving us in January, but I’ll remember how precious he is. And I am enjoying his pretty blue eyes at this singular moment in time. A moment that passes as I draw the next breath.

That passes.

The sun shifts lower into the trees outside the veranda.

I take another sip of tea.

It is bittersweet, this moment.

I close my eyes and scenes from college flash by, ignited by a friend’s card featuring her cats.

I laugh outloud, all by myself.

She was so darn funny.

She still is.

But how the heck did we get so old?

I look through the pile of opened cards in my lap. The long-haired guy that I remember dancing with a lampshade on his head (it was worse than a lampshade, but this is PG) now beams with pride as he holds his grandchild. I have to search hard to find him hiding inside that distinguished gray-haired gentleman’s guise.

Yesterday’s babies now hold babies of their own.

I sit and let it soak in.

There’s been so much rushing around, so much travel, so many Christmas parties and activities, so much company… that the season has managed to slip away, as it usually does for me. It feels like it’s over before it’s even really started. Just another whirling hurdle into the next year. 

No, I'm not ready for Christmas. I haven't even bought my husband a present yet.

Respectfully, lovingly, I rest my hand on top of the pile of cards.

I am so very grateful.

Thank you, I breathe

to the senders… to God… to the universe…

thank you

for these reminders of time’s passage.

Thank you

for showing me how the hours creep, but the years fly.

Thank you

for the gift of this moment

in which to stop

and give thanks

for all the redeemed moments of my ransomed life.


A people without history

Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

Of timeless moments.

(from “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot)


To everyone who's sent us a lovely card: 

Thank you for taking the time to brighten my day. Thank you for keeping up with us. Thank you for sending it to us by Snail Mail. It is such a treat to open the mailbox and find happy things in it for once!

My days of sending hand-written cards are over now, so I appreciate receiving them more than ever. For the past couple of years, I've posted an e-card on this blog. This year's is not very good. At least one daughter has groaned, "Oh, MOM, don't put that up on the internet!" But I would love to send it to anyone who would like to receive it, imperfect picture and all.  I have sent it to some people in my contacts, but Granny got confused transferring the addresses to Smilebox, so now I'm not sure who received it. 

Please email me at if you'd like an email that's not an advertisement, and I'll forward our tacky card as soon as I get a chance.

May everyone else have a holiday filled with the love of God, which passes human understanding.

God rest ye merry...

Love, Kim


Anonymous said...

Praying God's special blessing to you this Christmas season, whatever that entails!! He has something just for you - unlike any other! I look forward to hearing what it is as He reveals it!

(Our family is headed to the snowy mountains of Colorado, where there's already been 10" of snowfall in the past 24 hours!!)

Love, hugs and prayers!!

psbookteacher said...

I am also experiencing the "quiet home" syndrome. For the first time in years, it will be husband (of 46 years) & I "home alone." We have plans for church & for time with friends on 24th & 25th, but these last days before then give time for quiet & contemplation. I am grateful & want to use it to best way to give glory to the Lord for His gift of love in form of the baby Jesus. Thank you for sharing your heart & for encouraging me to grow in my faith. Have a God day! p

Anonymous said...

Kim - a few friends have directed me to your blog over the past year or two and many times it has provided great encouragement and inspiration when it was most needed! I was moved to write you after your husband left a wonderful msg on our machine for my son, who is a runner at Athens academy and a tennis player (I think they met through Allen Miller) Henry was so impressed that Brooks would take the time to call about an article he read in the Banner Herald. So the lesson to me- take the time to encourage others and tell them how they affected your life! Wishing you joy and peace this Christmas! Sandy Dwyer