Light more candles
In mid-December, our home was part of an annual neighborhood Christmas tour. Over two days and 12 hours, several thousand people meandered through our home. The days leading up to this event were filled with scrubbing and straightening and shoving, with a serious concern that no one would have the nerve to open any of our closets during their holiday trek.
Putting on our shiniest image for the crowd of people who would stroll through our house involved pulling out and lighting a number of candles. Our home looked beautiful and the candles added a glow and serenity to the ambiance. Many of these candles had been hidden in a drawer, moved from home to home, yet never been lit. They waited in a dark place inexplicably saved for some future special event.
After the home tour, the delight and exhaustion of Christmas and the welcoming of a new year, my thoughts moved toward a 2016 focus. My son called yesterday and during the conversation asked, “Mom, do you have any new year’s resolutions?”. My reply was “light more candles”.
Yes, I already have and plan to continue to physically light more candles. But the symbolism of this act echoes a deeper more constant struggle within. As I light each candle, the desire to be more fully present in each moment along with a yearning to embrace the simple joys in life is illustrated. In January 2013, I wrote of my wish to spend more time in the practice of presence. Three years down the road, I have made progress but still aspire to live in this space more regularly.
Four days into this new year, there have already been several invitations to live in and enjoy the moments. On January 1, we were invited to a delicious meal in the dining room of my parent’s new retirement community. It was a joy and delight to watch our daughters interact with a different generation. From smiles to hand shakes to chatting up while waiting in line, they shared their youthful enthusiasm all around. Their resolutions joined alongside those of residents and guests, and l imagine that their specific 2016 wishes have made some senior residents as well as their grandmom smile (see bottom two on the left hand side below).
This morning as I walked out my front door, three neighbors living out their 7th and 8th decades invited me to walk with them. I almost said no as the “to do” list for the week is long. Thankfully, I went along and was inspired and encouraged by their collective wisdom, life experience and joie de vivre. I received a standing invitation to join them in days to come.
I don’t want to wait for some glittering image home tour to light candles. As I write, as I cook and as our family sits down to break bread, the candle will often be a part. “Light” will be the focus of my meditation practice this year. The flame is a reminder and invitation to calm, intimacy, beauty, hope and God’s presence. I wish for more of that in 2016. I would love to know what your 2016 focus will be. Please share.