Early morning, maybe 6:45am, 25 December 2023. Written in the notes app on my phone while I try not to look at the draft text saved before it. A year I cannot wait to leave behind.
For you, reading this. This is for you.
It's Christmas morning. Cooler than most years. Summer thunder rolls in the sky outside like a hit cricket ball rolling down a hot tin roof. I'm laying here listening to the wind, to the storm knocking on the door of the the day, and turning over in myself how all I want for this one, or perhaps just what I want most, is for it to be kind.
To me. To you. To us.
May it be a time of being utterly gentle and true with ourselves, and formidable with our boundaries. May our fears be infinitely less heavy than the weight of our hope in what today, tomorrow or the year ahead might hold for us.
May a bed meet us with softness and warmth when our bodies most need rest, and a love we trust completely, meet us with all tenderness when it's our spirit that needs to lay down.
May our bellies and pockets be so full as to make us grateful, but not so full that the gratitude for them ever once loses its lustre or taste. And as we've received, may the road present us with the opportunity to give to others.
May the the gifts we give - whether meaningful thought or meaningful thing - return to us with all grace, and yield more grace than we knew was possible.
May the mean things of our lives become silent, and whatever each needs the moment to be, may it be what they need in every healthy, bright and beautiful way. May the love we need, and the home we seek, and the tenderness so many have gone without this year, be ours, be present in abundance and belong to all.
May the bruise know healing, and the soreness know respite. May our joy fear no clock, dinner table truths be spoken - or left unspoken today - in love, and may forgiveness and courage flow where and when they must. May any anxiety know peace in the night. May it become quiet in turn and give way to the sweetness of dreams that hold each of us in all the ways it makes us feel safe and treasured, to be held.
May grace be upon you, me, all we love, and all who love us, whether they are near or far, and whatever form they take.
May peace meet those for whom war is the only language they know, in speaking or being spoken.
Above all - in this loud, grieving, vivid thing called Life - today, tomorrow and always, may we know kindness, and have all we need be kind when the moment comes to pass it on.
And just in case you need it, here's a hug. The squeeze of one who treasures and missed you.
Here's your important reminders. Don't forget to drink water. Eat the cake. Revel in the wonder and don't worry about the mess. All it means is just that life happened in that space, and that it was lived. Not just existed.
Know that I look for you in the world, and at you, like you're fairylights at midnight on the streets of the place you want most to be. I hold the thought of you between my hands like a thankful prayer over a home-cooked meal after a hungry day. I see you like a sunset, all your vivid rays bursting: no cloud is safe from your gold and silver linings, and you're beautiful even when it rains. Sometimes especially then.
And I love you. Like you're fireworks. I think of you in celebration, in wonder, in hope and anticipation for the renewed mercy of every new day that meets you.
Be safe. Be brave. Strong back and soft front, as a wise woman once said. Keep going.
Because if we're still here, that means we're meant to be, and I love that for us.