Lilac Bouquet by Paul Gauguin, 1885, public domain, wikiart.org
"If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers
and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less
spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember
that He who created you to be creative gave you the
things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity
to appreciate and respond to His creation."
As you know, I rarely mention heartache topics here on my blog. From the beginning It's A Beautiful Life was meant to be a place of rest—a sanctuary where both writer and reader can escape the cares of the world, if only for a moment. Alas, my mind has been bombarded of late with things not so beautiful, not so peaceful: the devastating floods and mudslide disasters in British Columbia with their loss of life, homes, and livestock; chaos, crisis, and hatred leaving its ugly mark in so many places; health issues of people I love mixed with a few of my own health niggles.... well, you get the idea.
I think that's why I haven't been able to write. Ideas were stuck. Words were scarce. I needed time to clear the path so light and goodness could once again bring clarity and hope. I whispered my prayers and plunked my cares into the lap of the Lord, the way a hurt child turns to her mother for comfort—asking the Good Lord to keep an eye over the things I have no control, asking Him to extend mercy to folks I don't know but their faces haunt me. Eventually an inward peace begins to settle.
I remind myself to write about the little things that bring me joy in the midst and to quit trying to be eloquent about it. Well, okay then.... I feel a freedom in that.
Giving me great joy of late is that superb painting above by Paul Gauguin: Lilac Bouquet. I absolutely love it with that striking sprig of white against those gorgeous shades of blues. And wouldn't you look at that pretty shawl set beside the vase, as if the lady of the house has just walked in and lain it down to smell the fragrant bouquet.
Speaking of lilacs, our lilac bush was laden with snow bouquets a week or so ago when the mild autumn turned overnight into snowy, blustery winter. I was quite happy about it—a winter wonderland that got many folks, including myself, into the coziness of the season. Kids were out making snowmen and, with evenings turning pitch dark by 4:30 in the afternoon, folks everywhere were switching on their Christmas lights. Tiny blazes of merry.
We haven't turned on our outdoor Christmas lights yet. Rick isn't the eager Christmas Elf that I am—although I do believe it's a façade 😉when he mutters bah humbug. But my feeling is that once the first snow falls, it's open season on decorating for the holidays. I start small, adding a little touch here, a few twinkle lights there, and then around December 15th or so, depending if we use live or artificial, I'll decorate the tree. I've gathered my boxes of Christmas cards—yes, Virginia, I still like to write out paper cards alongside e-cards and e-mails. The tradition began years ago when my mom invited me one December to write out the envelopes for her Christmas cards, cautioning to do it carefully and neatly in my schoolgirl script. I was about nine or ten, I felt so grown up, so proud, and I have loved writing Christmas cards ever since.
On the home front, our own life thankfully remains pleasant and gently rhythmic, filled with quiet pursuits and routine activities. One day I got busy in the kitchen to make a large pot of Moroccan Chicken Vegetable Soup and a ham and scalloped potato dish to share with our dear friends (she's recovering from surgery). There was something enlivening about the act of cooking, imagining the comfort and joy it would bring to their supper table later that evening.
Life often mingles joy and sorrow, making it bittersweet sometimes. I'm keeping my heart in wonder at the daily miracles of my life (a line borrowed from Kahlil Gibran)—it offers much consolation in these troubling times.
* * *
Wishing you a beautiful weekend.