Comforting Words: Christmas Reflection #7 by Sonya

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Reflection #7 by Sonya

An important lesson for me this year was that no matter how far we may be, my friends are really "better than pocket money." Sonya, my woman-friend and kindred spirit, resides in Australia but through sometimes infrequent emails and rare telephone conversations, our spirits have remained in constant contact.

During this year, Sonya contributed articles to Comforting Words, and as we close this chapter, here is another from her:

Christmas Reflection
By Sonya
After reading some of your "Christmas Reflections", I have been thinking of doing some of that myself. Then I realised that with the travel that lay in front of me right now, I am in an interesting semi-reflective yet moderately "poor me" kind of situation. It does tie in, though I am not yet sure how...

In about 48 hours, I will board the airplane and make my bi-annual trip "home" to join my family for Christmas. Finances dictate that I am only able to do this in alternate years.

However, this Christmas feels really different, for a few reasons. It is Christmas number three without my Mom. I also have two new nephews to meet on this trip. Then there is a new woman to meet who has become important to my father in the past year. I am also bringing my partner along to meet my family.

Actually, now that I list things out like that, I am not sure what this Christmas has in common with any other previous Christmases!! So many things have changed, and "my" family has lost and gained faces, so I am not worrying about the anxious feeling that has taken over my life in the past 10 days.

They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Last year at this time, I was content with my identity as a sporadically-employed frustrated English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. I have now spent the past year as a High school French teacher (luckily, continuously employed). I have continued to learn and hopefully improve in this chosen career and will move on to another position- still teaching French at high school level.

As always, I am looking back over the obstacles and challenges that I have been faced with this past year, and I am mostly struck by the almost "doppler effect" time has on the severity of each one. At the time I was faced with the challenge, it felt significant and momentous, but now that I have gone past it and grown from it, it seems rather small and insignificant.

"This too, shall pass." Everything is impermanent, or as more devout buddhists would word it, simply: "anicca." I try to remember these teachings on a daily basis, but the 'heat of the moment' certainly makes things quite another matter.

I hope I can remember this "doppler effect" and keep it close to heart over the next 48 hours. I have been feeling quite nervous and anxious about the whole concept of this trip for a while now. Listing all those changes I mentioned above, I am starting to understand why. Just knowing the cause of the problem seems to lessen the severity of the problem itself.

So, I am going to be trying to remember "anicca" when meeting these new 'family members' and mourning the loss of other faces that I would normally expect to be seeing. Well, that is my plan, anyway.

The slightly more significant problem to overcome is convincing myself that this trip is a good idea full stop. I mean, I am voluntarily leaving 35 degree sunny summer weather and world-famous beautiful beaches. Worse yet, I am voluntarily heading toward -35 degree snowy winter. Why any sane being would leave Sydney, Australia and head to Regina, Canada-- now, really, other than "love of family", I cannot come up with a single good reason at all. Seriously, I am thinking this is proof of my insanity, really.

I am certainly grateful for the loved ones around me- my challenges have taught me that, for sure. So, I wish all your readers more challenges, growth opportunities and joyous changes to come in 2006.

May this season help you realise how and why we do those crazy little things we do for the ones we love.

May all beings be happy.

Sonya

Photograph courtesy of Yahoo Images

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