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Sarah

I wrote a post about New Year’s resolutions—the resolution I’m about to complete and the one I have on deck—but I think I’m going to wait to post it until next week, because I want to say one final thing about Christmas:

The end.

No, kidding.  This is what I want to say:

If your Christmas was like mine—and I hope that it was—it was bookended one way or another by visiting.  I didn’t do any Christmas visiting until yesterday, but I went at it with a vengeance.  My sister and her 3-year-old daughter and I visited like madwomen.  We spent the morning with people at church, the afternoon with my sister’s high school gang, the evening with a good Christian family we long ago befriended, and the night with Monica Rich and her young family.  (Monica comments sometimes on the Apron Stage and is awesome.)

Besides eating cannoli and gelato and flourless chocolate cake, and besides wondering again how it is that people manage to make their homes so warm and lovely and Christmas welcoming, I was struck repeatedly by the goodness of the people we love.  I went from home to home to home, in and out of the van, in and out of the cold, and felt embraced again and again and again by the sheer goodness of the people we know.

Alyson knows the corners of the room, touches arms and asks questions to keep people involved, engaged, laughing.  Britney looks me in the eyes and wants to know how I am really doing, if I am really liking DC.  She says she intentionally lives with people she knows will interrupt her, so she can practice patience and love and avoid the closedness that can come from always being in control.  Monica has chickens in the suburbs and wants to have enough land for a cow (which could give seven gallons of milk a day!).  Her girls have pixie haircuts and draw pictures of pennies and the eggs they’ve started gathering from their hens.  While we were there, Monica took a permanent marker and drew a muumuu on the scantily clad woman legging it up on a James Bond paperback that was lying on her kitchen counter.  Her daughter said, “Mom, why are you doing that?”  Monica finished the muumuu (which, perhaps not unintentionally, made the girl look pregnant), laughed, and then said straightly, “She looked cold.”

I love these people.  I loved them before, and I love them still.  I feel like it’s appropriate (or maybe pardonable?) that I steal here now a thought my sister shared with me from her mother-in-law’s Christmas email.  Her mother-in-law related the story of the woman with the issue of blood, touching the hem of Jesus’ robe.  Upon which, he felt the virtue go out of him.  He turned to the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”  The woman, fearing and trembling, came to him and “told him all the truth.”  And he said, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace and be whole of thy plague.”

I am a woman buoyed by the virtue of the people whose clothes I touched yesterday.  I hugged them and sat on their couches and caught again mere glimpses of the good lives that they lead.  I can draw an arc from the good things they were doing before, to the good things I know they are doing now, to the good things I can have confidence they will do in the future.  It is the trajectory of goodness that hallmarks the lives of people whom I love.  It is a line I can hold onto when I’m home from Christmas visiting, when I’m back to real life, when I’m wondering what the world’s deal is and how on earth we’re going to make it through.

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