Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The gift

Much has been written in the past days about the true meaning of Christmas. Many on social media profess we must keep the Christ in Christmas. I am not a Christian although I believe in the power of story as a learning tool and Jesus certainly had powerful stories and was a wonderful teacher. But as far as keeping him in Christmas, that is up to each individual. Christmas for me is about sharing, in the way you are most comfortable. If that means breaking bread, or giving toys or sweaters or cards, that is your Christmas. But for me it is just one day of sharing-it would be hollow to me if I wasn't following that golden rule on a daily basis.

I was blessed with wonderful Christmases as a child and into my adult years. My parents loved the holiday and always went way overboard with gifts, but it was all wonderful. There was a time though, in my early forties as I recall, when I began to yearn for more out of Christmas and I began recreating certain rituals for myself. We were not raised as church goers which actually was a blessing and a curse-I think it might have helped me in my twenties to have some foundation of spiritual lessons but it also allowed me to research and learn what following I wanted without shame.

But I have one special gift every day-Martyn. As long as I can hear him breathing when I wake up, it is a gift. When I see his headlights at the bottom of the drive and know he has made it home safely after an hour drive, it is a gift. I truly mean it when I say this-when I wake up, I thank God he is here, and I know that if he was taken from me for any reason-now that would be hardship. So when I acknowledge his presence each morning, and night, it puts perspective on any other hardship I might have that day.

We are starting to see friend's loved ones taken from them. Some have been young and knocked down by cancer or heart attacks; some young at heart but taken ill suddenly in their later years to something they can't fight, leaving behind a life long mate. Every time it happens, I empathize with the survivor, but selfishly I admit I think of what I will do to get through that moment when Martyn is taken from this life. I don't dwell on it. But, it's there and it makes daily moments invaluable.

So tonight we'll toast another day together. I have some things I'd like to happen in my life and would consider them huge gifts-the property to sell to a good person, a swift move for us, more art sales since it has been so horribly slow this forth quarter-but at the end of the day, and the beginning, there is this one gift presented to me that I acknowledge-Martyn.

We have an understanding that if he is to be later than 7:30 pm he will call and tell me because the roads he drives home on are curvy and rural-and dark. There have been many occasions in our years together where he is a bit late, and my worry takes over,

What if he is hurt, what if he isn't coming home tonight?

And then the dogs bark, sensing something I can't see yet. Headlights shine on the gravel road, and he's home. That moment of relief turns to the same feeling I had as a child when I got a new puppy-joy of the moment and a inner acknowledgment of gratitude for what just happened. As an adult, the daily gift of love, health and life are my constant new puppy feeling.

Christmas is about giving, but it is also about acknowledging the gifts we receive on a daily basis. The most important gifts to the soul can't have a dollar sign attached to them because they are priceless, they defy to be bought.