A coolish wet day in middle Tennessee -- green in the backyard of son Mike's home, weeping willow trees pretending it is spring -- so different from the frozen landscape I left in Colorado.
After rousing Christmas celebrations and a quiet movie day after, the adults have returned to work and the grandsons (older but not really adults) were sleeping. The older one was company earlier, but returned to his cave for a rest after cooking pork tenderloin in preparation for a stir fry later in the day.
The celebrations here seem remote from the Christian Christmas story, although there was a lovely creche at the home of the friend who turned 50 on Christmas Day and religious icons and a brief rote prayer at the table at the combined Means-Sanders-Cox Christmas dinner.
The holidays here are about family and friends and that seems to be where transformation and the spiritual journey hits the road and has meaning. A calm peaceful presence seems to be the best gift I can bring to this household where the boys aren't measuring up and taking responsibility for their lives and where their parents are a mixture of angry and sad and disappointed and worried and glad to have them well and okay today.
As we all look back on wasted years of our lives, we want those who follow to realize how important these days are and to use them well. It's not a lesson the young are likely to get until they have wasted more days and had more hard knocks, but we wish for them to find solid dreams and pursue them with verve and zest--energies that are harder to reach down and pull up in later years.
A walk along the Cumberland River with dear friend, Tiffy, pictured above, was relaxing and pleasant--lovely to find such a trail (paved even) near the heart of Nashville, wonderful to have time with her.
Lunch with Karen, one of my "girls," gave pause and thanks for faith and the work she has done in getting her life on track--hard work and hard won peace.
Visits with friends who aren't so fortunate, a younger one dealing with heart therapy, a result of the chemo she was taking for breast cancer; an older one who has survived a stroke (13 years) long enough to have more days when she feels sorry for herself that was ever her style, reminded me of my good fortune. I try never to take my good health for granted. It can change in a minute.
I left Nashville to return to Colorado grateful for my family--son, daughter-in-law, and grandsons and for extended family and for friends of many years--for the time spent with them. I left with optimism, even though there are trials of cancer, addiction, money, and distraction in the lives of those I love. I left feeling loved and loving--blessings that are the most valuable of all.