Rainy Advent

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Living on the driest continent on earth, when water falls out of the sky people talk about it. We ring each other up and preface our conversation with, "How about the rain, huh?" At work yesterday people were looking at the Bureau of Meteorology website to watch the rain's progress from west to east across the state. I could see it out the window, raining heavily into the grey concrete streets. Beautiful, life-giving water. We are so thirsty. Can only hope the rain made it into the catchments, of which ours are 32% full at last look. We need the rain, in more ways than one. Our thirsts are multi-faceted.

It is some kind of blasphemy these days to complain about the rain interrupting our social lives. Beggars cannot be choosers, after all. And I don't mind so much today. I am tired in my soul, melancholy (which is a different beast than the depression and grief I've been smothered by over the past two years. Those are lifting, but that doesn't mean the melancholy does not pay its recurring visits. Indeed, I don't mind its visiting. Melancholy spurs me on to be creative. And there are, after all, many things to mourn about in our world, and some of those are in my own heart.) Perhaps it is right that this Advent, so many of us seem to be spending dry periods, the empty waiting that burns. Life is sometimes just unutterably sad. We do reel to and fro these days, don't we? The hope remains though, a living miracle, peering anxiously at the skies while we gnaw on our fears and sadnesses. But the Christ will be born. Even while we feel we will wither away on the inside, our organs just drying up and disintegrating from the lack of water. This is the mystery. I have gone through an entire 4B pencil for the first time in decades, while in the midst of feeling like I am so creatively withered I shall never bloom. The faith sits in the midst of the broken pottery shards, even while it drags them across its own skin. Some say it is double-mindedness. I say it's integration.

Christmas this year is a pretty low-key event where I am living. Which is fine by me. Funny, though, that the previous two Christmases have been almost unbearable for me in some ways, being stuck in such a bad place. This year feels different with the fog lifting. And anyway, apart from that, I am just patently tired of deconstructing the guts out of everything. It is a necessary thing to do, and I actually really enjoy it, but still. Deconstructing when you are so dry yourself is always a danger, like flicking cigarette butts out into the bush. I want to look ahead, forward, at what is being constructed around our ears and our eyes, though we cannot see it and doubt its existence. Because we must ask these questions, seeing we are the ones who do the reconstructing.

I still think Christmas is an empty ritual at it's heart. The thing is, we have so few rituals that we share as a people that I am almost hungry for it this year. And when I remove myself from my deconstructing and analysing, I can just say that I am really looking forward to seeing my dear cousin Andrea and her boys on Christmas Eve, and going to her church with her to sing carols, and then going out to took at the pretty lights on the pretty houses.

Which is some sort of miracle in itself too :) There are always miracles, even in the dark, even in the sadness.


  1. i know all about the shards, that's me lately. so much to say and no words to say it. i guess the miracle is that this girl who always judged christmas by the number of presents she got, now is happy enough to have her family around her.

  2. I'm so happy that you are coming! Unlike many years ago when we sang carols in the gutter at club Franklyn ;) We can now sing them with a hope we didnt quite have then..Happy Birthday Jeshua (even if it's not really your birthday) ;)

  3. Fiona - it's a comfort to know that other people are feeling the same way? It just is. Thanks for sharing. I hate having so much to say and no words to say it. That feels like some kind of death!! :)

    Hey, that is some sort of miracle, huh? I guess we have all eaten so much consumerism that now we're vomiting it up and losing the taste :) I went to the shopping centre yesterday and it was just like, "What is all this bloody CRAP!??" :D

    Andi - well, yeah, but still, carols in the gutter at Club Franklyn has some sort of charm, looking back on it. Although from memory, I think charm school was something we may have failed back then, hah! :) I am looking forward to Christmas Eve :) Happy birthday, Jeshua (I place bets that he was born in September - spring in the Northern Hemisphere)

  4. as always, there is much in this post, but i think this one simple line sums it all up:

    "we are all thirsty." the thirst can change and sometimes we are not as parched as others...sometimes our cups do run over, and still it is a lingering thirst...there i go again with the both/and...thirsty and full...dry and saturated...

    i hope you will soak up the time with family and viewing the lights!

  5. Lucy - yes, posting less seems to mean that when I do post, its all congealed and there are, like, 3 posts in one. Might think about that next time and write them as 3 :)

    Ahh, yes, the old both/and. It's just a neverending paradox to plumb, isn't it :)

  6. What some people interpret as brooding melancholy is serenity. I don't feel required to grasp all the time.
    ~David Guterson

    I also saw a quote somewhere that said something to the effect of melancholy is being comfortable with sadness - as long as I don't stay there it's OK, but I know there is a point when I need to shake it off, wake up and throw off the covers. :)

    The older I get the more I like little traditions and the sameness of the celebrations. When I was younger I rebelled against holidays and frivolity, but now it seems to bring a cohesiveness to each year. I also like the idea of marking the seasons with their little celebrations. It gives some shape to the passing of time - for me.

    I hope you thoroughly enjoy the lights and the time with your family.

  7. Jennifer - I love that quote, it is beautiful :) I am beginning to see the good in traditions again. I think it's coming back to the centre a bit more after swinging wildly away from ALL traditions :) It feels like it is an inherent human trait to return to where we were the year before. Even the small traditions of acknowledging the first wearing of socks to bed for the year, things like that :)


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