This particular topic has required more attention from me than usual. More
effort. More 'struggle'. When I am faced with such an experience, I find myself becoming
more and more curious. It has been a long time since I've let go of the need for struggle
so, when it reappears, my instincts tell me that there is an opportunity here for a
or a revelation.
To appease my logical need for data, I turned to the dictionary and
discovered the Latin celebrare means 'to frequent' or 'fill'. (No matter how hard we try,
we can never seem to get by without the ancient sounds that formed the platform for our
communication. Perhaps there is more wisdom here than we realize.) Surprised, I found
myself pondering what would likely be the 'standard' thoughts that one would associate
with the word 'celebration'. Thoughts of parties, people, laughter, music, food and,
usually, more food! Perhaps even applause and awards. Dressing up. Sleeping too little and
eating/drinking too much! Images of people engaged in conversations with other
in pairs and in small groups
or even bearing witness to a stage
performance as one seated among the many.
The next thoughts that streamed were images of a small group
seated around a table, about to enjoy the fruits of the fall harvest. Smells
of turkey and pumpkin pie wafting through the air. Or perhaps visions of gently falling
snow and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree. Excited children straining to sit
quietly even if for a moment as the unwrapped toys await the return of their
Or perhaps a couple, standing side by side at the front of the church,
bold in their intentions and yet reaching out to gently touch one hand to another. Filled
with the excitement and trepidation of a life once journeyed alone and about
to be harnessed as two. Long white dress. Crisp pleats in dark suit pants. White shirts
and ties and boutonnieres. And in the soft candle light of the church, friends and family
bear witness to the coming together of one of the greatest forces in the world: the flow
of two, standing as one, to create the many. And life goes on
Small children at play. Four candles on a cake, with one small breath
about to make its mark. Boxes in brightly colored paper
with bows and
piled high, each precariously perched, awaiting the attention of its new
owner. And who can forget 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey' and the strange places to which the
pin would make its way. Stand back! Or you may become the Donkey.
Or perhaps that very first birthday. One high chair, one chocolate cake
and two small hands, delighting in the feel of gliding through frosting
its amazing ability to stick one thing to another. Eyes wide, hands pulling and
and miracle that it is the expert guiding of such a large chunk
of cake into such a small mouth! Even NASA would marvel at such an exquisite display of
docking expertise. Flashes of light from the camera that so lovingly captures the
to be celebrated over and over again.
That magical day of arrival. The birth of the first child
or the fifth. Even with repetition, the magic never fades. Each the beginning
of a wondrous journey that will bear the unique mark of its creator. Timeless. Even the
memory takes your breath away. It seems like only months ago
and look at them now.
Celebrations all. Each unique in its form, its structure, its offerings
and its intentions. Each calling forth a hope, a dream, a moment of gratitude. And yet,
what is often overlooked in the small silence of its expression is that moment or
those series of moments that fill us from the inside and happen frequently, from
one day to the next.
Like a fine mist, easily overlooked unless you're watching for it. The
smile from the gas station attendant. The concerned and thoughtful questions of the
pharmacist. The patience of the traveler behind us as we return from our daydream long
after the light has changed. The waitress in the coffee shop who remembers how you like
your bagels. The receptionist in the dentist's office who takes a moment to explain to you
that your dentist will be late, and offers you a magazine. The stranger in the hospital
waiting room who entertains your energetic and restless youngster while you await the
results. The pedestrian who stops and makes it possible for you to dart through, just
ahead of the endless line of cars.
These too are celebrations. Frequently occurring moments that if we
pay attention to them and honor them - fill our hearts and touch our souls. Moments in
which whatever we're wearing, whoever we're with, is just perfect for the occasion.
Moments that invite us to feel what it is to be one human being, in our ordinary-ness, in
the presence of another equally ordinary human being, in the creation of a magical moment.
If this is not cause for celebration, I don't know what is.