I lived another year.
Last night, we had an amazing New Year’s party with friends at their new house. There was food, drink and yes, oh yes, music. Live music.
This morning, I woke up to my beautiful wife in our 36th year. The sun is shining out over the lake.
The Christmas tree that Linda and I pulled from the forest and set up in our living room stands as a reminder of our Christmas morning – exchanging our gifts and celebrating our love.
This year has been magical musically. It’s almost two years since I released my album “Highland Lullaby” but I continue to write and perform with friends. From the duo with my friend Ken Loney, we have expanded to a trio with my wife and an amazing musician – Linda (aka Slinky). The “Slinky” nickname comes from her other band, Fifth Business where she plays cello (and many more instruments). Since Yo-Yo was taken, they named her Slinky. Today, our trio is called “Slinky and the Boys”. We’ve expanded to include three other fabulous local musicians – Shawn Chamberlin (owner of the iconic local Dominion Hotel), Hugh Taylor – our cornet player and Joseph Truss on drums.
We closed out our year as the final act in our local Christmas fund raising concert with the 6 piece doing my original material. A few weeks later our trio was the house band for a Christmas special hosted at our local station Canoe FM. The wonderful talented announcer Mike Jaycock hosted and celebrated so many amazing people who have given so much to our community. We played Christmas carols for a live and broadcast audience.
I am blessed.
Yet it hasn’t been a perfect year. One wonderful sister was diagnosed with cancer. My brother-in-law died from cancer, leaving another sister with sorrow that she struggles with – and little I can do but listen. My own children are strangely estranged this year and I continue to be mystified by that. My businesses are continually demanding more and more just at a time when I’d like to be giving less and less. And there is more…
Still I am blessed.
I’m blessed even in sorrow. At our Christmas radio concert, one of our local politicians, Carol Moffat, broke with the festive revelry to remind us that Christmas is not always the happiest of times. There are many for whom Christmas is a time of sadness, for some who are deep in depression, some who have tragedies in their lives. There are the homeless, the hungry, the suffering among us. She apologized for being a “downer” – she needn’t have. She spoke openly, poignantly and eloquently and opened up to all of us in that moment.
My own sorrows, minor as they are in comparison, give me some tiny window on the sorrows of others. So when Carol spoke at the radio station, she touched something with me as I hope she would have with anyone listening.
Christmas is not about finding happiness. It’s about sharing – our happiness and our sorrow. In the darkest day of the year, people have for centuries banded together to ward off the darkness of winter and to celebrate the path back to the light of spring and summer.
So I was reminded that the sharing of happiness and sorrow are equally important. Our shared humanity, the banding together against the darkness is the archetypal pattern that this season, this holiday represents.
So I wish you all the true experience of Christmas. I hope that you have celebrated your joy and your love. And equally I hope you have, in some way held even one other in your heart, understood and maybe even shared their burden – even if just for a few moments.
The mystery of our lives is written in both sorrow and joy. I don’t claim to understand it. I only know that in this life, I am here to experience it.
And I am blessed.