While I addressed a mountain of Christmas cards this morning, my husband and I chatted about how a task that is an absolute nightmare for some is one of the highlights of my season.
I enjoy stuffing envelopes and addressing cards to the ones I adore. I love remembering the people whose lives have been intertwined with ours, the friends from childhood and college, from our years as public school teachers, from our church community. It fills me up to think of them and the ways our lives have blessed one another.
I want them to know that I think of them fondly, that even though I haven’t physically seen many of them lately to hug their necks or kiss their cheeks, I love them still — from wherever I am to wherever they are.
After I dropped a fat stack of cards into the mailbox, I drove to the hospital to hang out with my sister, brother-in-law, and my sweet newborn niece.
I cradled her in my lap with her head above my knees for the first ten minutes, staring at her tiny round nose and full lips. Then I brought her to my chest and snuggled her close so she could hear my heart beating with fullness and love.
When I kissed her goodbye and walked down the corridor, I thought about this day in December four years ago when I left the same hospital after saying goodbye to my grandfather.
Grandpa Bing was a kind man with a mischievous streak and a great laugh. When he talked to you, he looked at you in a way that made you believe you mattered. He was fabulous at loving people – at making sure they knew it right then.
When I spend hours at the table before a mountain of Christmas cards, it’s because I want the people I love to know they matter to me now. They matter to me still.
And because I know that when I pour out love, it has a way of flowing right back to me.
Life, so often, comes full circle.
In watching my 91-year-old grandmother rock the sweet baby girl who is her namesake.
In having a reason to celebrate on a December day that has, in the past, held heartache.
In opening my mailbox this afternoon to find cards written with thoughtful wishes from friends past and present.
Of all things I’ve learned in my adult life, perhaps the most important is to love now. Do it quietly or loudly — by phone or by mail, or across the table.
Do it in your own way, but do it now, while you still have this day.
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