I didn't know what to do with myself. It was December 26th and I didn't have a plan. After the weeks of preparations, today was open, free space. In other years, especially when I was younger, I would come to the first days after Christmas eager to do nothing more than curl up with a new book. No doubt there would be leftovers, and little, if any, cooking would be required. I would be grateful for the breathing room, the chance to reflect on the special family and friend times, and the messages received at church throughout the season.
This year feels different, however. This year I have been able to pace myself, to pause along the approach to Christmas Eve. Some days have been busier than others, of course, but it has been a good busy. I have not felt pressured or pushed to do what I have set out to do. I have had time to snuggle under a creamy white cashmere throw and read and enjoy the quiet of the lights. Baking many loaves of cherry walnut bread has almost been a spiritual practice done to the accompaniment of familiar Christmas music. I even enjoyed the times when I have been out in the Christmas rush. Bruce and I agree this has been a spacious, but certainly not empty holiday time.
I sort of felt like the last of the Christmas cookies. Oh, how good they tasted and how much they were enjoyed, but now there were only two left, and I didn't feel like eating them.
So what was the problem? I was not exhausted. I didn't regret the choices made. I was not disappointed or letdown.
I was just in-between.
Everywhere I looked in the house I saw things I could do, but at the same time I sort of like the after Christmas disarray. I was definitely not ready to dismantle the Christmas decorations and yet, already they didn't quite fit any more. I was not ready to make my list for the new year or dig back into the writing I ignored the last few weeks. I could have written thank you notes, but doing that so soon after the unwrapping felt rushed, as if I just wanted to check that off my list. I didn't want to go anywhere, but it felt like there was someplace I should want to be.
Here's the deal: I was sort of ready for the new year to begin, but I was not ready to let go of this year, especially this Christmas time. And I am missing our Cleveland kids who are with us every other year for Christmas, a perfectly logical and reasonable plan, but that doesn't mean I don't miss them. How lucky we are to be with our St Paul kids, but I admit I am a bit jealous of the fact that they are now vacationing in Mexico, even though I am delighted they are able to have this relaxing family time.
I remind myself it is possible to feel more than one thing at a time. I can be content and antsy at the same time, and I can note what I miss and feel satisfyingly full at the same time. I can feel eager to re-immerse myself in work I love to do and yet, know that this pause, resting in the wings, is a good thing, too. I can be certain of all the love that surrounds me and yet, not know what the next minute is meant to hold.
This is in-between time. It just is. Tomorrow may not be, but this is the way it is today.
How do these days in-between feel to you? I would love to know.
NOTE: Thursday's post will be my annual Favorite Books List.