Thursday , 19 October 2017
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Carpe Diem Y’all: Dona Nobis Pacem

I wrote the following words on December 13, 2007 during my oldest son’s deployment to Iraq.  Since that fateful holiday season, I’ve been acutely aware of all who find themselves caught in a state of wait, separated from a loved one, while the rest of the world goes about the business of being holly and jolly.  


Today’s column is dedicated to all military families for whom the concept of waiting is most tangible this Christmas.  I ask you, dear reader, to keep these families, and their soldiers, in your thoughts and prayers today, and, until they are once again united. 


A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems ‘in ordinary terms.’ He replied with some feeling, ‘If I could say what I meant in ordinary terms I would not have had to write the poem.’ Dr. Brian Linard, A Way to the Heart of Christmas


The Advent Season- A time to wait.  And while we wait, we’re asked to remember and anticipate.  At the same time.  Which pretty much sums up my own season of waiting, remembering and anticipating that I’m sure all military families with loved ones deployed experience.


I find myself drawn to poetry. And songs. And art.

 
They comfort me.  The words, the music and the objects of art give me something tangible to hang my thoughts and feelings on as I wait, remember and anticipate.  I’m grateful for the poets, the lyricists and the artists who sum up with their work what I’m thinking and feeling this holiday season.  They do so way better than I can. 


(And even though I make it a point to keep my columns as positive and as uplifting as possible, I have to say, if while driving, I hear the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas one more freaking time, I might shove the radio into the radiator while punching out.)


Today, I read Longfellow’s poem, Christmas Bells.  It’s a classic.  I’ve read it before.  I’ve even sung the words.  The tune hums in my head as I write.  Today, the poem touches my heart:


I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


And thought how, as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men!”


Advent isn’t such a long time, but sometimes it seems so.  Maybe it’s because when I looked past the red decorations on the Christmas tree inside, I see the yellow ribbon tied around the tree outside.


Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele

 

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