After months of working in my basement, I have now secured an area for a nice long work table. There, I have surrounded myself with bins of wrapping paper and tags and am only a few yards away from my "box room," where I can find just the right receptacle to hold Christmas gifts. My husband has laughingly referred to this as my "woman cave," mainly because I have already spent hours there wrapping gifts. I'm up to 96 and have many still to go.
To amuse myself I take my DVD player down there so I can catch up on my Netflix while I work. Getting down the basement stairs is a chore for me, so once I'm down there, I'm there for a long time.
I had just gotten all nestled in my spot, shears ready to rip paper in which to wrap a nice old tobacco card with a caricature of Judy Garland on it, when my Netflix movie began. Sadly, I discover that it's all done in Polish with subtitles. One can't wrap and read subtitles at the same time, so rather than drag myself up the stairs to find a new movie, I ended up wrapping in silence.
But silence is often accompanied by one's inner thoughts and, since it's Christmas time, that's where my industrious mind turned. Sadly, I thought of a number of people for whom I always bought gifts, family and friends, who are no longer here. I also thought of a quote from "Life of Pi" about life and faith that has stayed with me.
The main character said that life is essentially about letting go. I thought of the letting go of childhood things as one turned into an adult, my own grown daughters' early years, personal goals that never reached fruition and dreams that never became a reality. As the Bible says, there is a season for everything and perhaps this is the season for remembrance of things past.
Most of all, I find myself thinking about those who will never be here for Christmas again.
There's no gifts for them this year, but I delight in thinking about gifts given and received from them over the years.
Our 50-year-old family joke started when I was about 7 and had bought my dad a pen-and-pencil set for Christmas. He asked me what I had gotten him and I told him it was going to be a big surprise but I'd give him a little hint. "It's something to write with," I told him.
Dad's been gone now six Christmases, but even today when anybody wants to know what I've bought them, I say "it's something to write with." The phrase makes no sense to them, but it means the world to me.
Letting go isn't easy, but one never has to let go of those cherished connections.
So as I sit wrapping presents, it's a sweet moment to remember those whose presence were the greatest gifts of my life.