I ask this question because yesterday while driving through the next town over for an appointment I found myself on familiar streets. I hadn't been over in the area for some months. In fact I really haven't been driving too much anywhere because of the cold winter. I tend to hibernate.
Yesterday before getting to my appointment I had a little time and decided to stop in at a health food store - Supernatural -- for a quick snack. One of the streets I took was close to a house my late husband and I used to own, a rental property actually.
It amazes me how somewhere in our subconscious minds we react to things in such a way that it is beyond out control. That is what happened to me yesterday.
I felt myself pushed back in time, well over ten years ago when my late husband and I and a partner of ours were involved in rental properties. I actually became a little disoriented because the person I am now is different than who I was back then. Emotions flooded over me and that started a panic attack that I quickly brought under control by simply bringing myself back into the present. Yet it was enough to let me know that memories from our past affect us in ways that we might need to be careful, especially when they hit us like a huge snowball, which is how I felt had occurred as I pulled into the parking lot.
Quite a few people have disappeared from my life over the last eight years since entering widowhood and the fact that I live alone with a small dog only brings that fact more to light. At one point I was employed, had many friends, kept in touch with relatives, my parents and my in-laws still around then but all have passed since.
This time of year was always a busy and fun time for me as I prepared for the holiday season. There was never enough time to do it all but we managed, wrapping presents for the kids way past midnight so that beneath the tree the next morning they would find a slew of bright colored packages.
One of those fiber optic trees sits in my bay window. That's about the extent of my decorations. Better than last year as I didn't bother to even put that up.
Today I wrapped a dozen packages for family and friends. That's about the extent of it.
I do miss those hectic busy times; the parties, the gaiety, the wonderful anticipation of seeing the look on family and friends' faces when they opened presents.
Some of those memories also came to me yesterday while driving through the streets past the house we once owned. It was like stepping over a threshold from present into past and back again, which is probably what caused my disorientation. Then again at my age vertigo is more common than not.
I am grateful I have good memories of past Christmases, and hope to make more of them for the future so that eventually when I'm sitting alone without even a pet by my side I can step over another threshold and realize that at one point in time my life was all there in place for me to enjoy.
I think my more simpler life serves to remind me why I am celebrating this holiday. Each night I read a chapter of Leith Anderson's book Jesus, which chronicles His life in a way that helps me understand more of not only the man but His purpose here on earth. Each night when I slip into bed ensuring my dog is snuggly warm on her own blanket, I reach for this book and pull myself into another world, one that occurred so many years ago yet continues to affect the lives of many here on earth.
We celebrate His birth, and rejoice, and know that no matter what happens in our own lives we are never alone for He is always with us to help us through whatever difficult times we may have.
I look forward to the end of each day when I can transport myself back to those simpler times where life I believe made a bit more sense in terms of knowing who we are and where we are going.