“juxtaposition,” the holiday and the preparation

As we prepare for the holiday season, we were reminded in Mass yesterday that we are embarking upon the journey towards Christ’s birth, Christmas. As is Father Bryan’s custom, he related a personal anecdote that brought the message home.

As a seminarian, Father and others, were given the task of removing the stump of a huge, old tree that had been cut down because it was diseased. An all day job, they labored mightily to extricate every bit of remnant that remained. That included the use of crowbars, and burning the core of the stump, attempting to soften it. As he said, their voices reached skyward in prayer, as they undertook the painstaking chore. Was that his subtle way of saying that if they could swear, they might have? I’m positive most men, and women, would’ve mumbled a few choice words, and not necessarily “under their breath.” Ahhh..but Father Bryan’s on the path to sainthood, so he must mind his p’s and q’s.

The following morning, Father wandered through a garden on the property, sipping his tea, and enjoying the beautifully maintained haven. When his gaze fell upon the hole where the stump once was, and the surrounding unkempt area, he reflected upon the juxtaposition of what was lovely, and what was ugly.

During the weeks before and during Advent, we must rout out all that remains of “the ugly stump,” so that we can fully enjoy the beautiful “garden,” Christ’s birth. Father’s metaphor is probably one of the most vivid I’ve ever encountered, so that it’s imagery will probably remain with me as I prepare myself for the holidays.

Another part of the homily which was an “aha” moment, was Father Bryan’s affirmation of something to which I already subscribe. The minutiae of our daily lives is who we are, and upon them we should focus our efforts and energies. We may not always enjoy what we’re doing, but we should do them nonetheless.  I’m sure he was referring to having to remove the tree stump. 

What we do, day in and day out, as a matter of course, is the source of our happiness. Singular events come and go. They may give us a temporary boost, helping us to soar momentarily. But we always return to the mundane, the every day, the minutiae. It’s best if those things are uplifting, and positive, so that they help us move forward, living our best lives. Disapproval and negativity encourages fretful, less fulfilling lives.

preparing for the holiday season, hugs…hugmamma.

why blog?

So many have taken to blogging like me. I’m sure we all share many reasons in common for journaling on the internet. And yet I’m sure we each have additional ones that are unique, prompted by our own experiences, past, present, and future. There are fleeting moments when I’m reminded of why I blog. I thought I’d sort out my reasons here and now, rather than have them floating around in my head, popping up willy-nilly.

  • Topping the list is the fact that I’m a walking encyclopedia of life’s minutiae. Having an outlet is heaven sent for me and my family.
  • My passion for writing is satisfied.
  • The opportunity to practice writing daily is invaluable. One day I might write to be published. Never say never.
  • Bypassing the “middleman”, i.e. agent, publisher, to have my writing read is instantly gratifying.
  • Choosing subject matter without pressure from outsiders is a luxury I enjoy.
  • Being back in touch with relatives and friends after a long absence is a gift I didn’t expect. They’re becoming reacquainted with who I am at 61.
  • For those who know me, regular journaling is like a Christmas letter they can read all-year-round. It might simplify card writing during the busy holiday season, so I’ll have a head-start.
  •  It’s my hope that I can be one voice for compassion and positive energy in what is becoming a hostile, negative environment.
  • I share my experiences as a child and a parent, knowing we all struggle to do our best, given our personal “baggage” of hurts and disappointments.
  • I offer humor about my marriage, because laughter is an essential element toward its success. I know my husband agrees.
  • I pass along tips, recipes, information in the hopes they might be of help to someone.
  • It’s likely that I’ll be affected by Alzheimer’s because my mom died suffering its effects, along with other major illnesses. Until then I’d like to use the time I have left of my cognitive ability, to do what good I can. If I lighten one person’s load each day, I will have led my best life.
  • And finally, my blog will remind my daughter of who I am, when I no longer am.

live life large, in the moment…hugmamma. (Have inserted this as a post, since a viewer was unable to open it as a “page” featured at the top of the blog, beneath the header HUGMAMMA’S ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Perhaps others had the same difficulty.)