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Last Year, Next Year, This Moment

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields,
that it disses them so gently?
And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt;
and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
— Lewis Carroll

“The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.” — Gary Zukav

Two days ago, it was winter solstice, the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, marking the start to the return to light.

Last year at this time, we were doing our final preparations for Christmas. One more gift. The forgotten whipped cream standing in long lines at the bustling grocery store. Assembling the green bean casserole. Retail stores packed and last-minute happy hours before the family festivities began. Busy, busy.

This year, our gifts are on our doorstep, Amazon became the store of necessity, small businesses closed and big family dinners around a too small table are replaced with zoom calls after we stream Christmas service while laying on the couch.

If I wrote that last year, no one would have believed me. It would be a fictional story. And it’s not.

The entire world had no idea that we would be in this moment right now, 11 months of a world-wide pandemic. It feels like one long winter with no promise of spring.

Today, like each day that has been and each day that will come, we have the power to choose our perspective and outlook. It’s the one thing that we actually control and that we too easily surrender to other people and our circumstances.

If we look at the full story of this long year, we can find the gifts and lessons. We’ve become more creative, innovative, resilient, flexible, agile, quiet, deliberate, slow and aware of our blessings. We are stronger, softer and vulnerable all at the same time.

While this year is exceptionally different with our traditions put on hold, dare to create new traditions. On the threshold of 2021, be aware and hopeful with vaccines that have been developed in record time. Anticipate and prepare to not just return to your “old life,” but create a new and deeper life filled with optimism, hope, gratitude, beyond your imagination.

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland

Today, choose what you will do with it, so when you look back next year on this time, you will remember not only the pandemic-style Christmas, but what you made of difficult times through the lens of daily gratitude, light and awe. If we can choose light amidst a pandemic, we can live it out daily no matter our circumstances.

More light is coming and while we wait, we can enjoy the light that is here right now when we look for it. Gratitude, optimism, hope. Spring eternal.

“The color of springtime is flowers; the color of winter is in our imaginations.” — Terri Guillemets

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