Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Greetings and Notice to Readers

Good King Wenceslaus

Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how -
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps good, my page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing 

The above traditional Christmas Carol is one of my favourites.  Every verse is jammed packed with lessons in life, ideas and ideals for peaceful human interaction.  It is like an instruction booklet in leadership and good governorship.  It is also a handbook in social work.  I thought about the words and concepts a lot when I was plying my trade in child protection.  The notion of first, "looking out".  So many of us are happy in our own little worlds and never "look out" to see what's going on in the world...bloggers are a true exception to that as we're constantly "looking out".  Identifying the problem is the next concept...seeing the poor man without fuel during a cold winter frost.  Coming up with a quick and rational solution is the next...going to the man's assistance with the right form of aid...fuel and meat.

Then there's the co-operatve effort and teamwork between the leader (King Wenceslaus) and the front line worker (the Page).  Without this kind of co-operation...humans could not live in is the bedrock of civilization.  The last concept is "dining communally"...sharing resources and primarily food.  Since I've retired from social work, I have begun to "feed the birds" particularly crows and have started to study crows even more closely than ever.  One very interesting thing I've noticed is my crow friends like to eat their peanuts in front of me.  They go through a very laborious ritual of breaking open the peanut shell within a couple of feet of me and slowly eating the contents...I've slowly come to realize that, in their own way...they're sharing a meal with me and showing me respect.  Amazing.

Now, I'm going to share a letter I sent around to my family last night.  It describes the ups and downs of the last year, 2016 and hopes for the future: 

Hi Everyone:
Wishing each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2017!!!
2016 went by very quickly…like a blur…with just a few extreme highs and lows.  The “High Point” of the year for us was the successful kidney transplant surgery on October 3rd.
L. has been doing extremely well ever since and has gained about 8 lbs.  Most importantly, his energy level has tripled and he has a more positive outlook on life. Last week, his clinic doctors said he was so stable and doing so well we could continue with our plans to visit Vietnam on a cruise with another two couples next March.  No sense in going through transplant surgery just to sit at home!!!
Without a doubt the low point of the year was the shocking passing of our sister T. She very courageously advised us of the seriousness of her illness five years ago… but five years wasn’t nearly enough time to absorb the loss of her joix de vivre…and to prepare for the cruel hand of fate that has prematurely denied our brother P. his “best sister”.  T was the love of P.s life and he was hers.  This Christmas will be a difficult one for him… and we are going to “play it by ear” every moment after our son J. brings P. over tomorrow at spend Christmas with us.  Last year T. gave me a big bag of used wine corks…her lifetime collection and the last of a long list of lovely, and thoughtful gifts……because she saw that I like to make “Cork Horses” as Christmas Tree Ornaments.  I made a bunch in the fall and wanted to make more…enough for everyone to have as a memento of T’s joix de vivre… as mentioned above, but my energy level was low after surgery and I still have a box full of dozens of half-made horses.  I will be completing and sharing them in time for all in T’s circle to get one in time for NEXT Christmas…. 
Mrs. Santa Claus

The Photo above is of me at the L's old office Christmas Party this year.  I’m wearing the red wool “Mrs. Santa Claus” dress I designed and knit myself last January, February and March.  I knit the purse to match…yes,… I am getting a bit dotty in my later years…forgetful too! J

But, in spite of it all, life is still wonderful, particularly if you are a grandparent.  L and I are blessed with one granddaughter, Eva, who makes us smile a hundred times a day with her antics.  She loves music, dancing.. and that Disney film “Frozen”.  She wants to listen and watch the video of the song “Let it Go” all day long.  She knows all the words and stamps her little foot when the singer stamps hers.  When we want to turn it off she cries…and we have to tell her to “Let it Go”.  She reminds me of myself when I get a bee in my bonnet. Ah….the circle of life.
Best Wishes....
I'm now the family point person for my adult brother P. who has Downs Syndrome and lives in a residential group home.  Up until my sister, T's death in November, we shared caring for him on holidays.  Needless to say...I will be too busy to keep up this blog and so am taking a hiatus.  I WISH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY READERS AND ALL THOSE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE, particularly my Canadian blogging colleagues, Northerntruthseeker and well as our American neighbour "Ed" from Occurrences... A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

1 comment:

Ed(itor) said...

Peace be upon you and yours. Take good care of yourself while you take good care of others (and the rest of us out here in this shabby world). We'll keep the Yule Log burning....