07 January 2011

It's a New Orleans Thing

Excuse me for posting this bad photo.  The cake got the best of us and we dove in before I remembered I wanted a photo to share with you.  Sooo...Happy Kings' Day!  It is the feast of the Epiphany, celebrating the day the three kings found baby Jesus.  What a great day to be a New Orleanian!  We finish the festive Christmas season only to begin the fabulous celebration of Carnival.  Out with the red and green and in with the purple, green and gold!  Enjoying king cake with my family in New Orleans sure beats being snowed in at the Gatwick airport as I was last year at this time.  Although I have to admit, last night,  I was wishing I could sit through a performance of the Lion King in London just one more time.

By the way, I have done some refreshing of the blog.  I hope those of you who subscribe and are getting this message via e-mail will visit the actual site and check it out here.  Look out world (or at least you, dear readers), I am rested, refreshed and ready to blog!

Those of you not lucky enough to live in NOLA- let me know if I need to eat a piece of king cake for you.  It will be tough, but I am willing to make the sacrifice.


01 January 2011

New Year's Eve

I have never liked New Year's Eve and I have finally figured out why.  When I was younger, I felt conflicted.  I thought I should join friends in their New Year's Eve revelry, but I didn't see the point.  What was so happy about the passage of time?  I felt sad.  That is how thinking about the passage of time makes me feel.  Not terribly sad, just wistful, like the bittersweet words and melody of a James Taylor song.  Images of events from the past year, fill the tv screen.  Then there is the sentimental, farewell montage of those who have died.   Events, both good and bad and people who are lost forever.  Therein lies the answer to why New Year's is hard for me.  It is the realization that we are trapped in time.

During and after Katrina, I loved listening to a song by Anna Nalick called Breathe.  The words were so meaningful to me in those weeks and months but also shed light on that "trapped in time" feeling.

Life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button now
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe, just breathe.

"An hourglass glued to the table"- Those words perfectly and poignantly express our passage through time.  It explains why I ache when I look at a picture of a chubby infant with a toothless grin whose breathe is sweeter than all the flowers in the world.  An infant that is lost to me forever.  It's that damn hourglass.  Don't you wish occasionally, that you could pick it up and at least slow down the sands of time, if only for a moment.  Yet, if the moment wasn't fleeting, would it be so beautiful?

Years ago when Mary Elizabeth was beginning to understand mortality, she was coping with the fear it brings.  She asked dozens of questions about Heaven.  Will my room be there?  Will my favorite toys be there?  Will my favorite food be there?  Of course, for a young child, the simplest answer is- yes.  They can't imagine happiness outside of the earthly things that make them happy.  As we age, we move beyond that idea.  We learn more and more about letting go and how fleeting earthly happiness is.  I have come to the conclusion that Heaven and eternal joy is simply, existing with God outside the prison of TIME.

Like I said before, I am not terribly sad on this holiday, just a little reflective.  The passing of time can also be a positive thing- fresh starts, wounds healed.  As much as I miss past stages of childhood, I would not want to be trapped in sleepless, nursing nights forever.  Time is both an enemy and a friend.  In thinking about time, I looked up about a million quotes about the subject.  Some made my brain hurt.  Some made me want to cry but most were hopeful.  Here's a lovely one I'd like to share:

Today is a smooth white seashell, 
hold it close and listen 
to the beauty of the hours.

On that note, here's to a new year full of beautiful hours.