Friday, January 10, 2014

On the Third Day of Christmas...

I have been having such
a beautiful and wonderful
Christmas.
*
It is funny how all of a sudden another part
of one's life comes crashing through;
as I am gearing up to leave for Ottawa for 
Theophany I have been hit with
homesickness for Ottawa
like I have not had in a while;
I guess all the wonderful times I've had have filled me 
so well that the continual process of adjustment to my new life
was running in the background and I was busy 
baking and listening to books and knitting...
*
So I thought I would write a now a bit of what I have realized
leaving Ottawa and building a new life here with my beloved
Mr. Husband is like for me.
*
It's like learning a new language in a new country.
Last year Christmas felt incomplete or off-key or missing in some way.
I was not able to have the Holy Supper, 
which is so much part of my understanding and experience of 
Christmas Eve and Christmas.
I had been unwell and not able to do St. Nicholas baking.
I was adjusting to a lot of new parish customs, colours and music.
This year God blessed me with the strength to do the baking 
for St. Nicholas Day and a small amount for Christmas.
I was able to decorate the house,
make lots of chai tea and prepare small gifts for many.
I was able to do the Holy Supper.
*
So it is like now the language is becoming clearer,
things are more familiar,
traditions are being built, 
I am slowly building some real and beautiful friendships.
*
But I am missing some things too.
I don't have anyone here to reminisce with for many 
of my years in Ottawa.
The Grandfather of my Ottawa parish continues to decline.
I can't get to Ottawa much at all and only hope that one day
when the Lord takes him that I am able to go to his funeral.
Another older man who I cared much about and had
a real friendship with, that was built
in snatches of conversation over seven years
has not been at church in months 
from what I've been told and he moved,
I don't know where he is; 
I worry about him.
*
I can't walk to my sister-friend's house or have tea with
other bookish friends I know in Ottawa.
I still don't know my way around here
(having mono did not help)
like I do Ottawa.
Thankfully this part  {knowing my way around} is getting better,
it takes time though.
*
I have been blessed with a good new father-confessor.
But he cannot replace my Ottawa spiritual father
who I miss deeply and am still in grief about missing;
this is one of the hardest things and I knew it would be.
Thankfully many of his sermons are online and 
I listen to his fatherly voice and am sustained.
My new father confessor cannot know the many things I 
went through, the many struggles and the few victories I have had
in my years of going to confession and church in Ottawa.
Knowledge like this is simply not transferable.
It honestly would be like trying to pretend a new father 
can know one like the first father did.
I have a good new confessor as I said,
but one cannot say that there is not a loss here,
though I can freely say that I don't know what I would do if I did not
have my new father-confessor.
I have not been left utterly abandoned in anyway
but in some real ways I have been orphaned,
at least for a time.
*
And yet I have such a full new life.
Mr. Husband and I pray daily for our marriage to be
nourished and protected.
I feel it flourishing.
My husband really is my best friend. 
We serve the church together
(I am slowly doing church bookstore and library stuff, too slowly
for me but I have to be patient even with myself);
we have a beautiful home together;
we are establishing family traditions and routines.
*
My friendships here are deepening also 
and I am grateful.
*
So it is that I am so blessed during this time
of continued adjustments and building a new life here,
so richly blessed.
*
Sometimes just realizing that one is not just 'done' grieving
in one day or even one year,
really helps.
*
I could tell that yesterday I had a little bit of franticness
that was trying to not face the grief that suddenly had
come through all the beauty and Christmas joy that I am living in.
So I had some tears and I also have been really tired
from all the travel and busyness.
So this morning I did a bit of self-nurturing.
I've learned over the years that being an adult can 
include some mothering of one's self at times.
*
I had one of my rare focused / intensive 40 minutes or so of self-care.


Simply I ran a hot bath
brewed a pot of hot chai tea,
poured myself a big cup of the said tea,
gave myself a small ramekin with a few
choice Christmas treats,
some chocolate and some candied ginger.
And I lit all my bath candles and used my 
best soaps.


I struggle sometimes in letting myself just relax
and accept things like that I have a beautiful tiled bath area;
it came with the place we are renting.
*
It was a bit of a huge turn for me;
the last bathtub in my old place was so bad that
it had to be re-whitened, the tiles on the floor were missing or broken.
*
So suddenly having such a {posh} bathroom in our rented home
was a blessing but also a real adjustment;
sometimes I find it hard just to accept nice things...


That I can use the cranberry body shop bath
things that I got on a super-good sale in December.
That I can have a focused rest time for rejuvenation. 
*
I knew if I took 40 minutes out of my day
I would feel more stable and relaxed,
able to do the few things I have chosen to do today.
*
Few because I realized that I was really
tired from the holidays and must
at all costs conserve energy
so I don't get sick in or after Ottawa;
last year's 6 months of having mono is not something
I wish to repeat.
*
So today I hope to wash a few dishes,
do some paperwork,
maybe make a simple yummy chicken dish.
*
A dear friend is dropping by soon,
I have our dutch oven simmering slowly
with butternut squash soup with cream
and chicken broth
that I had waiting in the freezer for us
for Christmas time.
*
I am exciting to slowly read these books 
that were part of Mr. Husband's gifts... 


He is just as excited as I am for these.


We agreed that it is a wonder that we did not accidentally
buy the same books for each other! 


I am loving my Christmas buffet.


I had to remind myself that a little
TLC for myself will go along way and I am feeling 
much more peaceful and relaxed already.
*
Life is always a series of leavings and comings.
Sometimes I have to remember that there are times to just step
back, take stock of things, do some TLC so that one
can keep going.
*
The key is that balance between self-giving and time for 
recuperation and rest.
*
And for this, 
on this third day of Christmas,
I am most grateful. 

6 comments:

fletchingtonfarms said...

I know how you feel. Even after being married to Colin for 10 years it still doesn't feel like home. Our farm feels like home, but I still feel like an outsider everywhere else. Even in Colin's family now with the stepmother, I don't feel a part of things.

We don't get to church in Ottawa often enough to feel at home there either, but it's a more welcoming feel than the local one.

Paula

fletchingtonfarms said...

I know how you feel. Even after being married to Colin for 10 years it still doesn't feel like home. Our farm feels like home, but I still feel like an outsider everywhere else. Even in Colin's family now with the stepmother, I don't feel a part of things.

We don't get to church in Ottawa often enough to feel at home there either, but it's a more welcoming feel than the local one.

Paula

fletchingtonfarms said...

Sorry, not sure why that posted twice

elizabeth said...

Thanks Paula; I don't know that I would say I feel like an outsider exactly; more of someone making a transition deeper into things; but at times seeing still from the outside, at times figuring out what the inside means and is like...

That said, I am sorry that you feel so misplaced where you are, other than the farm... I am also sorry your church is not welcoming; that is a real loss!

My love to you and I always appreciate your comments so much!!! Thank you!

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Sending hugs.

It is **essential** to take time to nurture yourself.I am glad you found it beneficial to do so..

E Helena E said...

This touched me and I think I understand it. Good that you can recognise when to do some self-care. Growing into a new life happens slowly.