(The Thesis is in the Final Paragraph)
Advent – December
My piano is a laptop where I compose the music of my muses one letter at a time. Forever pleased that I paid attention during high school typing classes, I impress even myself that my fingers move almost as quickly as my thoughts. My mind seeks creativity among dense clouds and a gray sky. I view the landscape asymmetrically from my second- floor writing space where the window before me draws my eyes to trees stripped of their leaves, bare branches opening to a wider street where cars move persistently north and south. My hands linger above home row, seeking just the right words to capture autumn emotions on this cusp of winter. Just last year, I wrote from the Principal’s Office – newsletters filled with anecdotes of school. Now, thousands of miles away, I take tentative steps in old shoes out of the comfortable breezeways of my career and walk cobbled streets of this colonial city that bears the burden of tangled politics and ever-evolving history.
These mornings, I have time to pour a second cup of coffee instead of rushing to work on time to unlock the front door. I am becoming accustomed to watching the Today Show and the beginning of Kelly and Ryanbefore moving to my desk and online tasks. Lately, my new routine has been interrupted by “breaking news.” I actually called my sister the other day and remarked that I must really be embracing retirement. After all, since when would I become annoyed that I missed the trivia question on my television show because the Speaker of the House had an important announcement?
Of course, I always listen to the news. It’s in my DNA.
Years ago, during my first career as a journalist, I would have perched at the edge of my seat to hear a news update. Today, I switch between channels to analyze broadcasts interpreted to nurture the insistent opinions of those who share their diverse perceptions of the same reality. No one is right; no one is wrong.
I am not writing about politics – especially from this dynamic city that is now my temporary home. I love Washington, D.C. As a child living on the east coast many years ago, some of my best memories are born from visits to our nation’s capitol. Earlier this month, my husband and I went to Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – a beautiful basilica where my prayers subconsciously turned to daydreams and meandered to cherished memories of my young sisters and I nestled together with our parents on the polished pews. I thought back over the years and could still envision us in our Sears Roebuck dresses and saddle shoes. We wore lacy chapel caps on the crowns of our cropped haircuts. (We called them doilies and couldn’t wait to take them off after church!) My past and present selves sought to identify the saints in niches far above – a marbled reminder of something that is somehow static and dynamic all at the same time. No matter how much I have traveled, a part of me was raised in this city.
The liturgical year has ended just as fall is turning to winter. And just like that, we have lit the third candle on our Advent wreaths. The sun-starved days of this season lead us not only toward Christmas, but also the beginning of a new calendar year. I read somewhere that even as we grow older, the vision we have of ourselves doesn’t really age. So even though my physical body might be measured by nearly six decades, I still “feel” the way I did when I was six years old kneeling rather uncomfortably on the kneelers in the Basilica. Then, it was hard to see over the pew in front of me; now, my joints are grateful when it’s time to stand. However, I am still me and the faith born in my youth continues its journey in a timeless, ageless sort of way. I am reminded of this Bible verse: “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
Defying all conventions of writing, my thesis is finally being revealed to me in this last paragraph of this composition. Such are those muses on an overcast day! Three years ago this month our father passed away. I pause at the end of this quiet reflection, comforted in knowing that today’s written song is dedicated to my mother, my sisters and all of our children. Wherever we are in our lives at this moment is exactly where we are supposed to be. There is an angel watching over us, casting true rays of God’s light through the grayest clouds, into the window, and onto the keyboard where I type…one letter at a time.