A delicate balance

Friday morning. You know the saying that, in the midst of life there is also death? I've been thinking about that this morning as I wrestle with my responsibilities at VLSCI and for my team.

Happiness at the holidays is what's expected, what's "supposed" to happen, and we feel so let down when our life doesn't work that way, but isn't that a little naive? There is no experience - ever - that is wholly happy or wholly sad. Even at funerals, there are usually moments of joyful reflection on memories that make us smile or even laugh. At weddings or baptisms, there are still some in the assembly who feel left out, as if it will never happen to them. Happy/sad, life/death, plenty/lack...they are all tied together and you can't have one or appreciate one if you don't have the other.

I mention this not to bring the party down but because it's been pushed right in my face this morning. Last night TCB and I had a fabulous time at the Poinsettia Bowl (Way to Go, Navy!!!), I've gotten lots done around the house, my fabulous house cleaners are scrubbing and polishing away as we speak, and several products (work stuff) that I didn't have a good feeling about are (apparently) going to ship right on schedule. Then I came in to work and, on the way in, I saw a dog that had been hit by a car just lying on the grass as though it were asleep. Once I got here, the other CASA for Alcott's siblings called and there's something really horrible happening with one of the kids. Right before Christmas. Finally, one of my team members called and told me that his dad hadn't had the stroke they'd thought but, rather, had a tumor on his brain stem and was losing control of various body parts. His father. At Christmas.

What I wanted to do was cry from the sadness, the injustice of it all - why do things like this happen at such a wonderful time of year? Why can't we just enjoy the wonderful things surrounding us without having to stop and deal with the sadness? That's when it struck me...the balance thing. Why wouldn't tragedy strike at the holidays? This week is no different than any other on the calendar so there will still be traffic accidents and robberies and children being abused, it's the fact that there is so much joy intermingled with the everyday swirl of life that makes it special.

And that, truly, is at the heart of the matter: celebrate with abandon those things that are good, special, and wonderful, mourn deeply those things that are tragic and horrifying, and then use the latter to help you appreciate the former even more. The bottom line is that there is no magic Wonderland but it's still a really Wonderful Life.


Anonymous said…
Wishing you a merry Christmas Denise, and all the very best in 2006.
Shannin said…
Tragedy knows no calendar. Look at what happened to Tony Dungy - coach of the 13 - 1 Indy Colts. They are probably Super Bowl bound. He will probably be named coach of the year. His son was found dead on Thursday from suicide.

It really makes me appreciate what I have even more.

Thanks for the reminder...
Plantation said…
Dear Denise,

Merry XMas and Happy New Year.

Ho Ho Ho

theaddict said…
Because my husband's father died suddenly 2 years ago on today (Dec 27th) I know this feeling first hand. We are reminded of it every year and we are reminded that we should celebrate the lives we have and each other. You can read a memorial to him at my other not used web address at www.rebeka.org

Hope you are well for the new years and thank you for sharing this entry with us.
JustLinda said…
Great post, Denise.

4 years ago, my grandma died 2 days before Christmas. It was an odd one, celebrating and mourning all at one time.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Anonymous said…
Hi Denise. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and that the New Year brings you all sorts of good things.
It does seem unjust that so much suffering occurs at this time of year, you're right (as usual)
Anonymous said…
Thank you for this reflection. So very true and appropriate. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
betsy said…
Beautifully said Denise.
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!
Anonymous said…
Wow, Denise... thank you for saying this. I think I so easily lose perspective this time of year... much love and hugs to Alcotts sibling, and thoughts to your team-member's dad.

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