. . . it is best to make a wish. Or so my mother told me.
I decided not to be greedy. As I lit the luminaries in front of each neighbor’s house, I thought about them. And asked for blessings upon them.
This could all sound so sappy and artificial and contrived, couldn’t it?
Except I’m no saint. And I don’t ask for blessings lightly.
A bit of background: a neighbor had asked members of our block if we wanted to start a new tradition this Christmas Eve, lining our sidewalks with luminaries. We agreed this was a wonderful idea, creating a bit of visual magic for the young kids, as well as us older “kids.”
Thus began Project Luminary, an effort which seemed to create magic not just for us, but for all driving down our street. The normally racing cars drove slowly and I could see the occupants smiling and pointing out the window. Which helped combat my discomfort from the cold as I lit candle after candle.
I had missed the luminary creation get-together (at the airport picking up my sister). I had missed the luminary placement time (frantically baking cookies). So I was not surprised to find just myself and two male neighbors out there for the lighting job. Note to self: next year, make the creation crew if only for the shelter of a heated garage.
I was asking for blessings to keep my fingers from feeling the numbness fast coming on. To keep my mind off of the fact that this was the first Christmas Eve without my kids—ever. And of course because asking for blessings seemed like a good thing to do on Christmas Eve.
I’m only human. I stuck to the houses whose occupants I could love without difficulty. Maybe next year I’ll try for the difficult ones. Like I said, no saint.
So I sent my love and support to the family who, along with a joyful wedding this year, had also seen two deaths—one member who lived a good life and one who never got beyond a few months’ gestation. I could see my neighbor and her recently widowed mother through the bay window, her mother sitting at the kitchen table as my neighbor cooked for her and they talked. What a beautiful example of keeping on.
To the older woman we call “Grandma Moore,” I sent wishes for strength. Instead of her bowling league and active lifestyle, she had been dealing with a year of surgeries. She got out there every clear day to walk with her walker. It began with down the driveway and back. She was now up to five houses and back. Love her spirit. Did I mention that she is 90 years old?
To the busy families with young kids, I wished for patience and the joy that can come from chaos, provided that chaos comes from a big love.
To the elderly gentleman who had looked even more crotchety (which I had not thought possible) since his furry faithful companion had died, I sent hope. For new beginnings. And yes, his new beginning came in the form of another furry friend just a couple of weeks ago. He still does not really smile, but his scowl is friendlier (another thing I had not thought possible).
To the woman whose family I can’t quite define, I sent energy. Does she always look so tired because her daughter and grandson are too much for her to handle? Because of the money woes renting a house might denote? I’m not sure and it’s none of my business. But I wished her more spring in her step. And someone to fill her tank, as she seems to fill her loved ones’.
I won’t go on because these are the people that have been placed in my path, not yours. But I’m sure you have some.
Next time you light a candle, think of yours, won’t you?
I’m just naïve, or wise, enough to believe it makes a difference.