The Ghost of Christmas Past

This morning, we trimmed the tree. The house glows soft with twinkling light. Outside, fat flakes dress the earth in threads of white. In the plum tree–a flash of red—cardinal in a nest of snow. I watch from the window, my feet planted in warm.

It’s quiet—quiet here, quiet inside the walls of me. I touch the moment gently—feel around inside my heart.

Is this how it feels, I wonder?

My dad called to say he is half way through his treatments. He thought I should know he’s doing fine. Yes, I thought. I should. I should know that. He wants to tell me something else, but I already know. And he says, she’s so young. It’s too young to start a family. But maybe they’ll be ok.

You and mom were younger than they, I whisper. And I immediately regret the words. After all, that didn’t work out so well, did it? He says nothing, just brushes it off. And then the connection goes bad and I say goodbye loudly so he can hear.

I love you, I say. And the words echo silence.

The snow that piles in the eaves where branches meet reminds me of home. There is a great open field between me and that place now and today it is blanketed in snow. The cries of the past are muffled by this insulation and I don’t even think about the what-ifs. Sometimes it is a hole inside of me and I feel broken with it gaping wide. But today—I remember how beautiful the snow slept in the trees of my childhood home. This quiet as the snow drifts silently down.

This must be, I think. This must be peace.

The water that has passed under the bridge is frozen and the light in the sky fades fast. But this shimmer—this glimmer–stays inside of me.

Let it shine, I pray. Let it shine.


  1. says

    Dear Laura,

    Even with writer’s block beauty still spills from your heart. This is a window to your soul.

    Praying for your Dad right now, that all his health needs, whatever their nature, will be met. And that he can be every thing you need and that your boys need, very soon, through His love and healing.

  2. says

    I’m miles behind on reading blogs, not that I’m apologizing. It was a week of deep thanks-giving that spilled over into the next and still hasn’t quite let go. But I do regret what I miss when I don’t read. I just caught up on the last half dozen posts here, and all of them touched me. You have a beautiful gift with words, connecting them to thoughts, longings, images, memories in a way that makes me feel connected, too. Thank you for sharing that gift. And thanks to our kind Lord for allowing our paths to cross.

    Love, Jeanne

  3. says

    “quiet inside the walls of me” – I love this. It brings me back to the moments where I’ve felt the same, reminds me of the possibility of peace in the depths of me.

  4. says

    You always say the most ‘meaningful things’… isn’t it so true that the ghosts of our past come back and dare to take away our ‘peace’.
    Family can be challenging and painful. I will pray for your dad as I pray for mine… in chemo and insulin. His wall is as thick as it has ever been. It is sad. There is no reaching into a place in his heart. The reality is just what it is.

  5. says

    O Laura! I loved this post….fat flakes, feet planted in warm, quiet inside the walls of me…you are a poet who is helping me to SEE! I love it that you are a combination of beauty and authenticity tied tight with the strings of His peace. Peace passes our understanding, but you show a glimmer, and how your heart and mind is guarded. Thank you for this.

    O, and at the end I could not help but think of the end of a wonderful children’s story, Corduroy, in which he says “This must be home.” Do you know the one?

  6. says

    “The cries of the past are muffled by this insulation and I don’t even think about the what-ifs.”

    And we dare not dwell on “what-if” or we’ll lose sight of the here-and-now…that’s all we have…wise you are to choose peace

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