Thursday, December 31, 2009

Simple Gifts

"What are you going to write about?" Is a common question on most nights in my house. Nearly every night the answer is, "I have no idea. I haven't sat down yet." I'd like to think that somehow I have been formulating ideas and writing paragraphs in my mind in between reading novels and watching PBS, but it just isn't the case. These days I often don't sit down to write until after 11pm. If novel reading ever preceded blog writing, blog writing would never happen, because I would be unconscious somewhere under a blanket buried in a pillow with the novel unceremoniously dumped from lap to floor. Tonight I will admit to watching a little PBS, because it was Thomas Hampson and the New York Philharmonic and Copland and Gershwin and Cole Porter. That in and of itself is an awesome combination, and worth taking a few minutes to sit and watch.

When the entire "Live from Lincoln Center" program repeated at 10 PM, I came in to write, but left the television on in the living room. A friend surfaced online and we chatted for a bit, and when she signed off, I looked at the clock. 11 PM. Must be time to write. But what to write?

When I don't know what to write, sometimes I'll check my email or catch up on my RSS feeds from various blogs. Looking through my Gmail reader, I remembered that TeenTuna told me she had posted on Christmas Eve and I still hadn't read it. So, late though it was, I thought I should, and I did.

So, with the New York Philharmonic blasting "Simple Gifts" (from Appalachian Spring) by Copland I clicked through to the last entry written by my fifteen year old daughter.  Here, in part, is what she wrote:

I didn't ask for much this Christmas, but found myself for the first year buying presents with my own money. Last night I had four of my closest friends come over for a Christmas bash where we watched movies for hours, exchanged gifts, and cuddled on the couch. That party, reminded me that I have the greatest friends anyone could ever ask for and that they mean the world to me.
2009 has had its fill of ups and downs but all those things have made me into a different and better person. When I look back on the year this is what I think of:
First, comes family. Family will always be important to me no matter what. Through 2009 my family has done so much to support me and I can't thank them enough for all that they do. I can always turn to family, when I can't go to friends. They are always there for me....
 Second, are the opportunities. This year I have participated in so many things that I enjoy doing....All of these things wouldn't be possibly without the support of my family and friends.
 Finally, are my friends....My closest friends have meant more to me this year than any other. I've known them for about two years and I feel like I've known them all my life. Its times like these when I think back to Elementary school and remember how much I wanted friends, and that they were only half an hour away.  They mean the world to me and I don't know what I would do without them.
This Christmas, I don't wish for anything big.....All I wish for and want for the new year is to be loved by my friends and family and to remind them that I am always here for them just like they are for me.

Leave it to the profoundly simple harmonies of Aaron Copland, the dance tune of the Shakers, the world of Elder Joseph Brackett and the wisdom of my teenage daughter to sum up those things that really matter in this world.  I'm humbled and grateful to be reminded that there is no better gift than to find ourselves in "the place just right."

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

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