There are traditions in my life that I love and many of them have to do with stories. This excerpt on affection is one of them and I pull it out every year at Christmas. This evening I looked back to see what I posted on my blog this time last year., and it was this post. I knew this was it, for today. It’s something like bringing out the tree ornaments, year after year, and falling in love with them all over again. What I want to say today is what I wrote last year at this time. I want to remember this short and lovely reflection from CS Lewis.
Affection is the humblest love-it gives itself no airs. It lives with private things: soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor. The glory of affection is that it can unite those who are not “made for each other,” people who, if not put down by fate in the same household or community, would have nothing to do with one another.
Affection broadens our minds: of all natural loves, it teaches us first to notice, then to endure, then to smile at, then to enjoy, and finally to appreciate, the people who ‘happen to be there.’
Made for us? Thank God, no. They are themselves, odder than you could have believed and worth far more than we guessed.” C S Lewis
This particular excerpt from CS Lewis has always appealed to me. I suppose it represents what I find in my own large, extended and crazy family. A motley crew for whom I have the greatest love and affection and I am also aware that they have affection for me. How lucky is that?
In an era of continual judgment about everyone’s shortcomings, I come to value the human capacity to be able to tolerate each other’s foibles, blind spots, and just plain old-fashioned mistakes. Along with all the wonderful things that we love about each other the whole catastrophe is what makes up our lives.
It is the same with friends. We will all disappoint each other from time to time. It can’t be helped. Life is not about ensuring that everything is designed perfectly just for me, or you, or the next person. Like death, we all know disappointment will happen. We will disappoint our friends and family from time to time and they will disappoint us. It can not be avoided. We are human beings. Perfectly imperfect.
For many people, this month of December can be painful. And it is sometimes because of fractured or disappointing relationships. I am a believer in second chances and mending fences. There is enough suffering in the world and if we can do anything to ease that suffering within our own circles of influence, while we can then I am all for it. It is a tradition handed down from my mother and her mother that is a treasure worth preserving. Don’t misunderstand – sometimes it doesn’t seem to be possible. We all know that too.
This month, affection is my current favorite word. It rises to the top of my list every year in December, as this season prompts so many memories of joys and sorrows. Affection for all the perfectly imperfect people who have been part of my life and a humble affection for my own humanity. We are all in this together, so let’s make the most of it.
May you create moments of enjoyment, and experience affection every single ordinary day.
“I don’t think I’ll last forever,” said Peach.
“That’s okay,” said Blue. “Not many folks do.
But until then, you have me, and I have you.”
-Peach and Blue, by Sarah S. Kilborne, 1994
1:) It is true that there are many things wrong in the world but there is a whole lot going right.
2:) A beautiful short (1.5 minutes) seasonal song, Ebel: “Leise rieselt der Schnee,” (translation is Softly Falls the Snow) from the Vienna Boys Choir. Listen here.
3:) Thank you for reading my blog each week. I appreciate your notes and encouraging words. Please take care and stay safe. Reach out to friends and family and find some new and old ways to celebrate. See you next week. Warmest wishes, Trudy