A slide show through my December would consist of a mad-fast jumble of contrasts.
Twenty crazed minutes mid-Saturday inside a crowded Walmart in Portland, Oregon, accompanied by overloud, carnival-toned Christmas songs.
A quiet, tearful hour or two curled up next to my frail and ailing–to be honest, dying–95-year-old grandmother.
Faces against windows, pressed closer to better see commercial displays of lights and merchandise. Airports full of strangers. Streets and stores packed with shoppers. Some cross. Some kind. Not a one in any way as invisible or insignificant as they all seem to be to one another.
Primary children and cousins pressed up closely against the glass in front of a pink-tiled baptismal font. A crowded but cosy chapel (or two, or three). A dining and living room full of friends and family. Not just known, but also much loved.
Frantic (and exhausting) busyness.
Precious few quiet moments, desperately stolen from the demands of the day.
Smog. Sun. Grey. Green. Hurt and heartbreak. Love and Joy. Crowds. Quiet. Sickness. Health. Death. Birth.
Even knowing what I know, sometimes I don’t quite know what to make of it all.