Mariposa Life

Debbie Croft: Reflections and remembrances

Debbie Croft

One of my obscure traditions this time of year is to spend an evening just thinking. I wait until the rest of the family is in bed, turn off all the lights, except, of course, the ones on the Christmas tree, and then sit in the stillness and reflect.

At first, I stare at the glistening tree. Smiling, my gaze slowly moves across the branches loaded with ornaments, and I remember those who fill my life with friendship -- the "kindred spirit" kind. I'm reminded, too, of almost 30 years of holiday festivities and traditions with the people I call family.

Smells lingering from the kitchen remind me of baking done earlier in the day ...

Each handmade ornament contains an image -- visible only to me -- of the face behind the hands that made it ...

And although the stockings hang empty, they're somehow filled with memories of delighted squeals as contents were dumped out on Christmases past ...

While sitting there deep in thought, my gaze falls upon something else in the room: a photo, my husband's book or a tea cup, and my thoughts drift to other folks who have become so dear, by the way they've influenced my life.

Young people have graduated and joined the military, and are no longer here to celebrate the season with us ...

Mentors who have patiently encouraged me over the years ...

And a friend or neighbor whose cheerful greeting and warm hug never fail to brighten my day.

Noticing the piano or one of the many miniature musical instruments on the tree brings to mind the words of favorite Christmas songs ...

"O come, O come, Emmanuel ... "

"Ring, Christmas bells, merrily ring, tell all the world, Jesus is King ... "

"Mary, did you know, that your baby boy would someday walk on water ... "

The thoughts are bittersweet, of course, as the past 12 months have brought their share of sorrow and joy. Sometimes a memory brings a smile.

I see a bride dancing in her fathers' arms with the summer sun setting behind them ...

I recollect new babies, and shopping for tiny garments in pink or blue ...

I remember friends who moved away, with old addresses being crossed out and new ones written in ...

And sadly, I think of those who have passed into eternity, leaving an empty spot in our lives and an ache in our hearts. Instinctively I wipe the tear slipping down my cheek.

Before the evening is over I find that my ponderings have turned into prayers. This is not a time to pray for myself, though. Instead, my prayers are ones of adoration and gratitude, as I reflect upon the past and wonder with hope about the future.

As this year comes to a close, I find once again, my life's cup is filled to overflowing with God's goodness.

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. She can be reached at composed@cwo.com.

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