Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are for ever one.
I still listen to the Festival of Lessons and Carols at Christmas. My faith is dubious (although I went to Midnight Mass this year – see note about unhappiness and confusion.)
I found myself thinking of what it was to be without child or parent this Christmas. In some ways my mother is with me. She is with me when I sent my eldest nephew a crystal wine decanter upon hearing of his engagement. She was with me when I put spatula’s, tea towels and underwear in my stocking.
My son is ever with me. Crazy, perhaps, but there you have it. He lives in the space between my heart and my lungs and is with me in every way that matters.
It was not a happy Christmas. I have found myself a sort of lost for the last 3 months. I don’t have a particular explanation. I should be happy. I’ve no real reason to be unhappy. Yet here I am. Deeply unhappy. Muddling through as best I can. I hope it will pass. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to say that on Christmas Eve, I lowered myself on creaky knees and found myself praying that it would.
I do not know what I believe. That’s nothing new. In some ways, unhappiness is not much new either. A friend of mine both aptly and eloquently pointed out that I have experienced enough grief for a lifetime. It feels a bit melodramatic, but it is, I suppose, true.
I find myself going back to the things I knew. They change. I do not know them the same way. I do not believe what I once did. I suppose I am telling myself that this is alright. The bidding prayer used to connect me to what was- to my mother and my son. I know now that they are never gone from me.
The world, the bidding prayer tells me, is separated into shores. Not disconnected really. The ocean connects us all.
Not such a bad learning in the middle of unhappiness.