Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas and Family Together

This afternoon we said goodbye to our Canadian family - five from age 12 to forty something who traveled more than 2,000 miles just to be with us for the week of Christmas.  What an honor and what a joy.  What a lot of laughs!

They were all such great sports, tolerating the goofiness of our little family here, and our odd American Christmas revelry; the church family service with crying babies, noisy kids in the pews, and a particularly despicable King Herod.  There was the noisy Christmas dinner at the home of dear friends, with all the usual characters of weirdness and relation that the years seem to collect.  Board games and car rides, Christmas crackers and basketball in the back yard.  Its all a blur, where did the time go?

The house is a bit quieter now than it has been for the past week.

And in the quiet this afternoon, I stumbled upon this lovely and dare I say transcendent song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, joined by one of my favorites, Aoife O/Donovan -- Transcendental Reunion

The lyrics are below, followed by an concert version of this song, which is allowed for embedding.  Also I would strongly recommend you go view the better version on YouTube, recorded during the Transatlantic Sessions, with dobro guitar master Jerry Douglas.  It is simply lovely.

This song helps me to reflect on the mystery of the blessing of family.  A belated Merry Christmas to all.  And may the New Year give you the ability to recognize how much of life, even the little moments, are really transcendental in nature, if we will just pay attention.

From 20,000 feet
I saw the lights below me
twinkling just like Christmas
we descended slowly
            and the curve of the world passed
            with all of that flying
            above the mighty ocean
            and now we all are arriving
grab the carry on baggage
join the herd for the mad run
take a place in the long line
where does every one come from?
            as we shuffle on forward
            as we wait for inspection
            don’t be holding that line up
            at the end lies redemption
            Oh Oh, Hey Hey, Ah Ah

Now I’m stamped and I’m waved through
I take up my position
at the mouth of the cannon
saying prayers of contrition
            please deliver my suitcase
            from all mischief and peril      
            now the sight of it circling
            is a hymn to the faithful
Forgive me for my staring, for my unconcealed envy
in the Hall of Arrivals where the great river empties
            it’s hand carts and porters
            all the people it carries
            to be greeted with flowers
            grandfathers and babies          
            Oh Oh, Hey Hey, Ah Ah

There is no one to meet me
yet I’m all but surrounded
by the tears and embracing
by the joy unbounded
            the friends and relations
            leaping over hemispheres
            transcendental reunion
            all borders vanish here
We are travelers traveling
we are gypsies together
we’re philosophers gathering
we are business or pleasure
            we are going or coming
            we’re just finding our way
            to the next destination
            and from night into day
            Oh Oh, Hey Hey, Ah Ah,
            Oh Oh, Hey Hey, Ah Ah

In a giant bird’s belly
I flew over the ocean
from 20,000 feet high
how those lights were glowing

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