Monday, December 28, 2015
I was blessed to spend sometime, however short, with my siblings this Christmas. At one point in the evening, my sister whipped out her phone and started scrolling through her pictures. We all know this is inevitable, in fact, we often see this as permission to whip out our own phone and start scrolling through the pics of our grandkids and, kids as we regal our victims with their accomplishments. The twenty first century's version of the dreaded yearly Christmas letter.
My sister has no children or grandchildren.
"This is the ring, I'm going to get," she said. "And here is my coat. And this is my new house."
I tried to nod appreciatively but I'm sure she noticed the judgmental glint in my eye.
"I pray big," she said unabashedly.
I bit off my urge to inform her that she was praying for the wrong things. You're supposed to put others' needs before your own, Kathleen Ann. You should pray for peace or an end to hunger, not 5 carat rings and six car garages.
I was also blessed this Christmas to spend time with all of my own kids and grandkids. At one point, my three year old granddaughter twirled into the kitchen of my oldest son's house where I'd been imprisoned for four days.
"Grandma," she chirped. "Come play with me."
"I will Attie-bug, as soon as I'm done here," I assured her, as I scrubbed or stirred yet another pot.
She stuck out her lower lip and I refrained from informing her a rooster was going to come shit on it, as her great-grandmother Davis would have warned her.
"But I want you to come play now," she wheedled.
"Atalie-Jolene Davis, the world does not revolve around you," I informed her instead.
"Oh yes, it does," she assured me as she twirled back out of the room.
I shook my head. She'd learn soon enough, I thought. But then I thought, I hope she doesn't and why should she? Her world should revolve around her. She should always be the sun that lights up the world of all the other beings that wonder into her orbit. She should never rely on other people or other things to provide the light in her life
My world should revolve around me, too, I realized. It always should have. Instead I let others needs and booze and my own belief that I shouldn't outshine others suck up all the fire I had in me until there was nothing left but ash. Or so it seemed. But underneath all that gray ash an ember burned and once the ash was swept away and it was exposed and allowed to breathe in again, it alighted. And once more there was light in my life. My light.
It's up to me to keep it lit and be deserving of all the good things that venture into my orbit. Whether they be twirling granddaughters, grandsons that still like to hug their grandma, sons that think I'm humorous as all hell and the best cook in the world, a husband that thinks his world revolves around me (and it does), or five carat rings and winning lottery tickets.
So I sat down this morning to pray big, too. But then I realized my biggest prayers had been answered already. I am sober. I have my family back the way I want them. I am loved. I love myself.
I can now pray for smaller things, it is a luxury that sobriety has granted me.
So I'm praying for a sprawling old cabin with a big trestle table in the middle of the main room, long, benches on each side and a big stone fireplace that takes up a whole wall of the room. I'm praying for rows of four poster beds with thread-bare, faded quilts piled on them and rag rugs strewn about the place, spaced just far enough apart that you have to hop a little in order to make it to the next one before your feet touch the cold planks of the wood floor.
I'm dreaming of generations of twirling, twinkling stars circling around the sun that I am once more.