Christmas Eve, 2011. On Christmas Eve, 2004, my son, sister, cousin and I sat with a total stranger at the Marriott Courtyard in Memphis, Tennessee. My husband had been buried the day before and an ice storm had turned the town into a skating rink, preventing us from returning home to Atlanta. I always thought it strange that we were at The Marriott Courtyard across from St. Joseph’s Hospital.
A kitchen employee by the name of Mary (to amplify the Mary and Joseph thing) had taken pity on us and offered to bring her Christmas ham and the fixings to the motel and feed us. We were deeply moved. Makeshift stockings were hustled up from a convenience store and a drugstore. A stocking cap that read “Mary” in glitter was placed on her head.
We five sat in the otherwise empty lobby and feasted. Death and rebirth were one.
I could not ever go back to that time nor do I think I will have to. For the past seven years I have known peace underneath my usual daily challenges.
Writing is now what I do. I have, for the most part, given up spiritual books and teachings. I have become what I needed the most.
I have become someone who knows what I need.
If some of you are still struggling with being kind to yourself, you are not alone. It took five years as a caregiver for me to earn the time to take care of Vicki Woodyard. She was overdue for a rest.
She is smarter than I ever gave her credit for. She learned one day at a time how to manage what needed managing. She just kept putting one foot in front of the other. The walk up the inner mountain is ongoing but she is now pacing herself.
I hope that 2012 finds her in an even deeper peace. That way she can offer the so-called world a bit of it. Otherwise, what’s the use? She is trying to see through the bushel over her head. What she sees is nothing less than herself.
This essay makes no sense; that is how it should be. Otherwise it would be just another treatise. Cue the star, the shepherds and the wise men. A child is born.