Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yuletide Blog by Leanne Dyck

For me, Christmas is a time of introspection. Every year, Christmas arrives with a message. This year, as I contemplated the festive season, I was taken to three places...

Set the scene:  Christmas carols played at a loud volume
red, blue, yellow--bright lights
shoppers pushing, shoving rushing to the check-out counter

Over-riding it all, an authoritative voice demanding, "Buy. Buy. Buy. Spend. Spend. Spend. Fill those shopping bags. Now! Now!"

Filled with anxiety, I realize, I will will never be enough. There will always be a present that isn't event expectation unmet...

Set the scene:  wood pews

A voice preaches, "The reason for the season is..."

I listen and am encouraged to acknowledge what I have...

Love, support, belonging, potential for growth, purpose, creativity, friendship, faith, community, pleasure, inspiration, happiness, harmony...

The list continues and as it does I'm overcome by a feeling of abundance--of thankfulness.

Set the scene:  cold

No voice, only my thoughts. 

What lessons can the dark teach me? What do I take with me into the dark? What do I lose? What do I gain? Why do I need to be so busy, to clutter my life? What am I compensating for? What emotions am I suppressing? Why isn't this enough?

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. -Carl Jung

Carrying the lantern of our spirit before us, we must enter the darkness of our troubles if we are to drink clearly again from the source. This is making the darkness conscious. The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

Amongst my great grandmother's possessions, I found a copy of a short story. The author's name and the date of publication are lost in the dust of time. It is an old story, written by an unknown author but it speaks to me. I hope you enjoy it...

The wintry winds blew, and the proud waves of the Atlantic Ocean beat hard against a steamer outward bound for the American shore. Despite all the efforts of her skilled captain and willing crew, she was driven on the rocks and wrecked. Part of the passengers were saved by being put off in the boats, but the greater number sank with the vessel in the stormy deep.

Among those who were in the ill-fated vessel, was a mother and her only daughter, a bright girl of ten years. They had left England's shores with bright hopes and prospects before them. A comfortable home awaited them in the far West, and her husband and father waited to welcome them at New York, on the arrival of the vessel.

But, alas, these fair hopes were rudely dashed to the ground by the sad news of the fearful shipwreck.

When all hope of saving the vessel was abandoned, and the boats were put out, they were quickly filled. Among those who stood on the storm-swept deck, was the fond mother, with the child, grasped by the hand, eagerly watching for a place in the fast-filling boat.

"Room for one more, but only one," cried the brave sailor, as he handed the female passengers over the ship's side. There was a minute's silent suspense, then the fond mother warmly kissing her child, handed her into his strong arms, and in another moment the boat with its occupants disappeared in the surf. Before it was possible to return, the wreck had sunk, and all on board perished, among the number, that brave faithful mother, who lost her own life to save the life of her only child.

Distracted with grief, the heart-broken father mourned the loss of his wife and child, until the morning papers told of the safety of a boat with twelve of the passengers, among whom was a girl of ten years. He hurried to the spot, and with a thankful heart, clasped his daughter to his bosom. ...

Years passed away. The child of ten had become a fine young woman of twenty-five years, and was on a visit to the old country to see her friends and kindred there. In the fine old country house where her beloved mother had spent her childhood, there were many objects of interest, which her aged grandmother pointed out, recalling memories of the past, but there was one above all others of which she never seemed to tire, and on which for hours she could only look with tearful admiration. It was the picture of her mother. As her eyes fell upon it for the first time, she burst into a flood of tears, and grasping her grandmother's hand, she said, "I live because she died."

Next post:  Interview with Carrie Snyder--whose latest book, The Juliet Stories, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Award for fiction.