Advent joy

It’s Advent Sunday. I went looking for the candle holder, found it with the remnants of last year’s advent candle. I burned it down, it took some of the enamel from the holder with it and left me wondering where this year has gone. Parts of it have left me overwhelmed by the demands and speed of life.

Covid knocked me out twice; energy is not yet fully restored. I’m not alone in that.

One of the healthy habits built up in lockdown was the daily walk or run. Purposeful being out of doors, thinking time. Now, I feel I’ve lost the art of walking as a habit. My body may accept a brisk walk to get to a planned activity as exercise but my mind does not receive the same rest. The solitude of lockdown walking, lightened by chance encounters with friends and strangers, is gone. 

Earlier this week, I was walking with Jenny. She’s a good friend, a planner and an extrovert.  She loves a group activity and thrives on doing things with others. We were on our way to lunch. We met Mary, she was coming towards us, alone and walking for the sake of walking. I’ve missed Mary’s quiet company and wisdom. We’re overdue a coffee. I had to cancel last time due to Covid. 

My writing habit has been intermittent this year too. But it’s not been without its achievements. I remind myself of the joy derived from belonging to writing groups. And in my year of failing well, there’ve been small victories too. Not least, a short listing for a short story, celebrated by a trip to Edinburgh for a gathering of fellow writers.

My advent book’s been on my shelf for a while. I found it second hand, out of season. I opened it this morning and read, in the opening lines of the introduction: people ask me how I find time to write…we all find time for the things that really give us joy

That’s as far as I got, I needed to stop and reflect.

Do we? Or are those things sometimes squeezed out by daily life?

My advent hope is now for joyful habits to be reborn in me. I need to rekindle the joy of walking and jogging in mindful solitude. For today, I’ll just reflect on that opening sentence. With eleven chapters to go, this advent pilgrimage may take a while.


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