A weight. Await

December 24, 2022

Last night I finished a book (one that may make it to my top-10 of the year), in which the main character ends up moving into a cave intending to live out his days as a solitary monk. After spending his lifetime as a healer, performing apparently miraculous feats, people eventually hear word that he is in hiding and begin coming to find him. In return for his help, they bring gifts of bread, meat, and other sustenance which he had learned to just do without, compared to the norms of human need. Come winter however, which was, as the book described it, the harshest he had ever experienced, people forget to come see him. So consumed with the business of trying to survive on a day to day basis, the villagers simply don’t have any margin left to wonder how Laurus is managing there in the mountain cave. 

I doubt it would have occurred to me, at least since moving back to the industrialized western world, that I would suddenly be able to identify so much with a description of life in the Middle Ages ….in Russia!

But here we are, waging a full-on war against the elements. Here in the southeast, we are not suited to the single digits. Pipes are freezing. Mandated power outages are being implemented to try to regulate the energy use required to heat our homes. And it horrifies me to try to imagine the plight of the homeless. 

But in the immediacy of it all, on our little farm, I have no margin beyond survival …

…Creative heating when our HVAC has to pause to catch its breath (this is not the only country I’ve lived in where I resorted to an open oven door when faced with the lack of central heating).

…Hourly collections of all the animals water containers for refilling. At one point yesterday Peter went out for his scheduled round and discovered that an hour was too long: it has already frozen.

…Cutting out all usual enjoyment of outdoor chores: all the tasks and errands are done in a dash to get it over and done with, and race back to shelter.

We are weary. My husband is nearing the brunt of it.

We are uncomfortable. Tired of being cold.

And, shocker, we are feeling less than festive on this Holy Eve.


I hear myself say that word and I wonder …

Mary, what did you feel that night, as the traveled on the back of a donkey, searching for shelter, heavy with child?

Was it, perhaps, rather weary? 

Was it, perchance, uncomfortable?

A thrill of hope.

The weary world…


advent of joy

December 12, 2022

You came to me in my dream last night. You gripped my hands, and you smiled that smile, and you said my name. “Anna. I knew you would make it.” I had made it. You were there. Pa Charley walked up behind you. Beaming. “I’m SO glad to see you!” I gazed, open-mouthed, at the two of them. Tears springing to my eyes. JOY filling my heart. I’m that moment the dream melted away. I had not arrived at the place to which I thought I was journeying. But a far better destination had been found. On this 3rd Sunday of advent I awoke to the reality of JOY. Happy 95th GramBea. Thank you for the best birthday party ever.