Christmas and our gifts

We were all born with a ‘starter pack’ of gifts wrapped in our tiny bodies, many inherited from our forebears. For simplicity I want to mention just three that we all get, despite our parentage! The first is love unbounded, the second is time and the third is grace, all given by God, regardless of our heritage. Usually with the help of parents, its our job to grow physically and mentally with what we have, but importantly and crucially, to develop those three gifts. Most of us do pretty well with the love, some better than others with the grace and, most of us woefully with the time bit!

Somehow, speaking personally, we seem to get ourselves in a mess with time. Allocating the hours between work, family, leisure, study, travel, home, and people, all gets mixed and interwoven to a degree that defies order and discipline. For most of us, that results in messy time-management and, often, resultant disruption to either our personal development and/or our relationships. At least I confess it did to me! Time is like that; it just has to be managed – or the results can be catastrophic.

Unlike love, time is finite (at least our lives are!). Not even one moment can ever be re-lived or recovered. But it does have one, and only one, redeeming feature: time can also be remembered. And if, like me, you have lost a loved one, the remembrance of happy times past can be a simple, private, and personal way to recall happy times, bitter-sweet as they may be. Ah! The joy of earlier times…..they easily outlive and outrank the struggles and heartaches!

Strangely, it’s through love that we best manage our past and present time and add value to our reminisces. As a retiree and a widower without work-life and family constraints, it’s easy for me to find time on my hands. The challenge is to avoid those hands (and heart) ‘living in the past’ and to find ways to ‘add value to the present’, rather than indulging in a melancholic waste of time!

So, my New Year resolution is to ‘turn the page’. After all, I can easily flip back to re-read the past chapters. Currently, as we ease out of Covid restrictions I am remembering and appreciative of the dozens of little joys my neighbours, friends, and family, even Applewood management, have shown to me over the last two years and more. Proof indeed that love trumps time in value!

There has been a tendency in writing this note for me to have been somewhat sentimental, and I make no apology for it. It will be the first Christmas, for almost as long as I remember, without Dorothy. It could be a sad time for me, but I am determined to live by what I’ve written above and ‘to turn the page’. Even so, I acknowledge that it’s also a bitter-sweet time for many others in our community who have also lost loved ones, for lots of reasons, and turning the page is difficult.

Come what may, I can only extend to my readers a wish for a Blessed and Happy Christmas, that it will be a peaceful time, and that you will be renewed and refreshed for a new beginning in 2022.