We've arrived at another December, as the year winds down.
Like a clock, this calendar promises we have only so many days in a month, so many months in a year; then we get a new one. A whole set of new months, weeks and days are ours to discover our highest purpose. And so it goes.
The forecast promises cold and snow. Each morning, as I've driven the school bus through our route and watched the sun rise, I've been grateful for the absence of snow and ice. Whatever comes this week, we have less than a month left until Christmas break.
Princess has been fighting an ugly mucus cough and I've been waking through the night to give her water and find some myself. We're desiccated by the dry winter air. It's time to take out the horehound herb I grew, dried and put away to start making lozenges. Princess also needs more cuddle time from me.
On Black Friday, the six-o'clock news gave us video snapshots of anxious Americans lined up or fighting (like their lives depended on it) over stuff in department stores. Weeks ago, I ordered a few parcels from catalogues, and I'm happy to stay home away from the mall-brain headaches and unnecessary rushing of years-gone-by.
Meanwhile, in many countries, people are rebuilding their communities and beginning new lives in the aftermath of horrific storms. Our school held a special hot lunch to raise money for the Philippines and I was grateful that our children could be reminded of the survival struggle others faced, even while enjoying a meal together.
I guess I'm kind of melancholy at the moment. We all face our struggles and yet digging into and naming each good thing in our lives can be a defining moment. Are we thriving as a family, community, nation, culture – or merely surviving?
I see thriving as a choice to be made with each new thought. Many things concern me in terms of the way we treat each other and the planet. Any nation focused on surface sheen and image, convenience and money, will feel like it's merely surviving no matter how the numbers add up.
Conversely, those who focus their attention on the care of their people, water, land and communities build a foundation for thriving.