Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Nows



Emily Dickinson lived a full life.  A life she desired. Maybe not the kind of existence that others would have sought out, but she was content. She wrote constantly and the majority of her relationships with others consisted of only correspondence. She lived a solitude adult life, often avoided people and began to decline visitors.  She loved her younger sister and her sister-in-law most, and spent the majority of her time in their company.  She had written over 1800 poems in her lifetime, yet less than a dozen were published while she was alive. At only 55 years of age, a kidney ailment claimed her life. It wasn't until 7 years after she passed away, that her younger sister, Lavinia, discovered and published a large volume of her work. Not until 1955, was a mostly unaltered collection of her poetry made available.

Her poetry is something that I have come to adore.  In high school, while at the Forest Lake library,  my mom pointed out her collection. She looked at it, pointed to it and made direct eye contact with me saying, "Read it. You will never be sorry."  Not only did I read it, I devoured it.  I didn't understand some of it,  yet other portions, I felt like I could have written myself.


I often come across the following quotes and they cause me to pause.

The brain is wider than the sky.

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.

Tell the truth, but tell it slant.

Forever is composed of nows.

I think the last one is my favorite. When I first read that quote all those years ago in high school, I wondered a lot about it.  I thought it was one of those quotes that would mean much more to me as I aged than it did to me at that moment.  I was right. It does.

I have learned how fleeting each and every moment really is.  That those times we enjoy, sometimes the moments, few and far between, are to be savored.  Whether they are spectacular or seemingly mundane, those moments only happen once.  I find the importance of taking a mental picture. Of committing the moments to memory. Memories that I hold dear, and treasure.

This Christmas was the quietest Christmas my husband and I and our kids have ever experienced. No running, no racing. No stressing. We went to the Christmas Eve service at church and came home to have a lovely, mostly already prepared dinner with my mother in law and her husband.  I had cooked all the sides the day before and only needed to set the table and my husband prepared a splendid main dish. Today, it was just the four of us. The kids opened presents and Josh made a great breakfast.  We read, watched the end of a Christmas movie and I even took a nap. We had a great afternoon family walk as it was almost 40 degrees. We enjoyed a taco dinner and then watched The Santa Clause. My kids and Josh enjoyed frosted brownies. All together wonderful. Peaceful.  We will celebrate with my family on New Year's Day.

The peaceful Christmas that we experienced has been committed to memory. The now is one of the little pieces that adds up to forever.  Times with family, not focusing on anything else. It makes me want to experience about 100 more of these peaceful Christmases. 

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