Pandora played carols quietly in the background. Cider simmered wisps of cinnamon and clove into the atmosphere. With our fingers, we consumed chunks of warm, moist gingerbread. It had been about Christmastime last that we three had met like this. Only last time we met in the new 3,300 square-foot home I shared with my husband. And this year, we met in the 1,200 square foot rented condo I was sharing with just my daughter.
We took turns swapping stories, updating each other on our lives. A tremendous creative endeavor had united us two years earlier. One of us was 60something; myself, 50something and one of us still 40something. To the team, we'd each brought a creative discipline and created something grand. One of us was a grandfather. With swiftly moving fingers, he summoned pictures and videos on his phone. I shared about Grace's art and the other told us about her teenager's creative venture. We shared about how our lives had moved on, what projects we were pursuing or not pursuing, and what exciting projects we planned to pursue next in the creative arena of our work lives.
One of us had house woes, another car woes, more than one of us had family members with chronic conditions and one of us with some of their own. And I was leaving a marriage that I had thought held such promise. Our stories of Joy, of challenge, of woe, of mundane and brimming activity and commitment wove a tapestry of a year's time in our lives. We smiled, laughed and celebrated the tender and the victories. Our hearts winced at the challenges--our own and each other's.
As we parted with one more thread of our lives quickly woven into the tapestry of our stories I thought about what we'd each shared. The weight of it all. There was some sorrow. Some pain. Some heartache. But, we each bore it. If there was spilled milk, we had each wiped our tears and moved on. And as we stood outside my patio gate, exchanging our goodbyes and holiday wishes, I thought: "This is Life. In each our shared stories, this is the tapestry of Life--woe, challenge, Victory, Joy. "*Rinse. Repeat. Move on...."
*Of course, I do not mean to imply that in the minutiae of Life it is this easy. And ideally we each work through these circumstances, processing it, learning from it, healing through it. The point it that we recognize all that is Good and Beautiful and despite challenges Celebrate and Live Life Fully.
**The above photo, copyright, Leisa A. Hammett, was first seen on "The Journey with Grace" in May, 2010 in the post: "Sandwich Shoppe Catharsis Between Strangers."