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Walking each other home, together | Home Again


Last updated 1/2/2019 at Noon

Christmas Eve morning.

Sunny and bright, with puffy clouds in a pale blue sky. It was 47 degrees, probably much colder where I stood on the beach north of the ferry dock, watching the Kingston-Edmonds ferry curve toward the landing.

I’d have grabbed a warm hat if I’d known I would stop at the beach after a visit to the post office – where there was no line at all – and a stop at a bank.

I made a list this morning of all the tasks still to do this Christmas Eve day. I purposely included some things that aren’t really tasks, because they are a pleasure: Gifts still to wrap for Christmas in West Seattle with daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren Adam and Abby.

An afternoon visit with my cousin Carrie Ellen. One more batch of spritz cookies to bake. And, finally, highlight of the day, Christmas Eve services at church.

Clearly, the various things I MUST do today are not the most important things on that list. Cleaning the kitchen, for example, can wait until those cookies are in the oven.

I know my time at the beach will come to mind again at the end of the day, when I consider all I have to be thankful for. I’ll be thankful for fresh salt air, divers readying themselves for a cold-water Christmas Eve morning, little kids digging in the sand with parents and grandparents taking photos.

I approached a young woman taking photos of her husband as he stood on the beach holding their adorable baby, and asked whether I could take their photo as a family. Delighted, she handed me her camera and stood with her husband and baby for a Christmas Eve morning portrait.

The joy of that little family on their outing warmed my morning.

I meandered along, exchanging greetings with other people, several calling out “Merry Christmas!” as they encountered other walkers. Mount Baker glowed in the morning light. The ferry – after some terrible seas to navigate lately – came gliding in and out again with no problem.

The Amtrak Cascade passed by on its way from Vancouver, B.C. I felt happy just walking along the familiar waterfront. Finally, I looked at my watch and decided I felt ready to tackle the chores of the day, interspersed with the pleasant times I had planned.

By the time you read this, Christmas will be over, and we’ll be very close to 2019. I’m going to try to make the best of the days of the coming year and push hard against giving in to dwelling on disappointments or difficulties.

So many people have greater problems or deeper sorrows than I do. Some of them have minimal necessities and few comforts. Many others, who appear to have plenty of everything, suffer from ill health, family tragedy or broken dreams.

It’s nearly 2019.

Remember, we’re all just walking each other home, whether or not we feel a clear sense of direction. We are in this life together, and I believe we are supposed to be affirming, accepting, forgiving, moving forward – together.

I hope you’ll say “Hello” to a stranger. Reach out to an old friend. Be kind to an animal. Make a difference.

Happy New Year!


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