This year I can fully appreciate this strange period between the times, these days between the years. The darkest time of every year, after the climax of the holidays, before the excitement of the fresh start of the New Year.
In German these days are called „Raunächte“, derived from the term „rauchen“, to smoke, from smoking the house with herbs, to clear the space. They are numbered 12, one stands for every month of the following year. It not only seems as if time stands still, they are actually only filling the gap between the moon year and the calendar year.
And they have been considered magic since…well, I guess since the dawn of humanity. Myths and tales a plenty of how thin the layer to the other worlds are in these days. The rebirth of the light, unseen and secretly orchestrated, is not yet felt in those days, but they bring long, dark nights of shadows, ghosts and memories. And hope.
Even if you cannot quite relate to witches, spirits or other outwordly phenomena you will probably experience some kind of melancholy in looking back at your year, recounting the good and the bad, the do and the don’ts, reflecting on what has and could have been. Before moving on to the new circle around the sun, celebrating with friends and family, you most likely will hold still for a while.
This is where we are right now.
And it feels like…
Absolute gratitude for what is.
We have all been a little sick shortly before, while and after Christmas, which in a way was the perfect preparation for this time of stillness, because it forced us to just do more or less nothing, sleep, eat, be together, go nowhere.
When I surfaced again I felt a binge of tear jerking thankfulness. For who we are, for how our lives turned out to be, for the children, the time together, for the relationships, the love, the hurt, the lessons, the joy…you get it. In the hustlebustle of daily routines we too often forget what really counts and it hit me like a hammer.
I feel so incredibly privileged. I have a roof over my head, I know that we have something to eat tomorrow, I have a loving family, I have very special people in my life I call friends. My children and my husband are healthy and well. I can choose what I want to do every day, I can do what I love doing. This is amazing, life!
Deep longing for peace.
Peace starts within me. Right in these tiny moments of light. The sparkle in the eyes of my smiling baby, the glittering waves on the pond before the sun says good night, the flickering embers of the fireplace keeping us warm.
I want to start from there and see what happens.
Connection with all and everything.
Yes, it can get even kitschier: We are all one, like it or not. There is no „us“ versus „them“, „good“ versus „bad“, „black“ versus „white“. We somehow want to make it that simple, so we can grasp it, looking for excuses why we should not take charge ourselves.
But the hard truth is: There never is anybody else to blame but myself.
There is nothing like coincidence.
Everything happens for a reason and yes, you can, no, you HAVE to trust. Life will be rocky sometimes, but looking back you will see why it had to be and what was in there for you to find. Being right in the muddle you cannot see it, but there is a major plan in there, may you call it Karma, Fate, Destiny or what you will.
Everything always changes.
…and yeah! – Nothing ever stays the same. So aaargh…hard to grasp. Just when you thought you had it all laid out, figured out what it is all about…bang! All new, all different.
You can wail and you can rant about it all, but this cannot be altered: Change is the core of life itself.
But you can go with the flow, swim with the tide and even enjoy where the ride takes you. Let go of what is not meant for you. And do not forget to laugh from time to time.
So when the sounds of the fireworks, the church bells or whatever it is that calls out the beginning of the New Year, chime, time will unfreeze and will start flowing again, melting away the darkness, the cold and the dead. Washing over everything, bringing me closer to myself.
I will be ready, then.
For I have looked for signs of fresh beginnings, seen the first glance of the new in the wobbly knobbly knees of the newborn lambs, trying to get up and find their way to their mother`s milk, just yesterday. Felt the pull of excitement yet to come.
For now I stop my sermons. Retreat to my cocoon, which is still comfortably snug, tending to my hardening wings and letting the whirling flakes of this first snow cover everything in a blanket of silence tonight.