Yesterday was the winter solstice. For many pagans, it marks the spiritual new year as the sun begins to slowly come back. Yesterday was the longest stretch of darkness, and now, moving forward, we will have ever increasing moments of light. This light can be many things: the actual light that shines from the sun…
…or it could be hope. Hope that things will continue to move in a positive direction or hope that things started will reach a positive conclusion.
There are hundreds of people all over the world who suffer from seasonal depression, and to them, the solstice means the light at the end of a tunnel. It means an escape from their hopelessness and sadness. The winter solstice can literally save the lives of hundreds of people each year. It’s a big deal for a single day.
Erin and I celebrated early on Friday because the next day, we were setting off north towards Michigan. Erin’s family lives in Michigan and a bunch of her closest friends do as well, and this is the one time of year she gets to see them. It was also the first year that I was going. Erin’s family is fairly conservative, and we weren’t sure how her grandmother or mother would react to us staying there. My parents, however, had given us an emergency out if things got bad, which we didn’t think would happen, but it was nice to have that safety net.
The drive itself was uneventful. We hit traffic around major cities, I learned that car rides make me sleep, and we stopped frequently to let the dogs out to stretch and potty. When we got to our destination, we were greeted with smiles, hugs, and good southern food (Erin’s family transplanted to Michigan from Kentucky a number of years ago). There was some old-timey Southern christmas music on the TV and at one point after dinner, Erin’s grandmother went to her room to watch Bully Graham reruns on her TV.
Since then, we’ve continued to have good food and good times, and I hope that it’s a sign of the future things to come. My dad has also said some extremely supportive things to me in the last 48 hours, and it’s just another reminder of how awesome both my parents are and how far they’ve come in the last 11 years.
The thing that stands out the most has been this: Well good. Hopefully everyone will take a deep breath, and realize everything is good, and the world is not coming to an end, and life is good and love prevails!
Best. Statement. Ever.
My family is so unquestioningly supportive of Erin and I, and they love Erin as another daughter. My mom made a point as we were leaving on Saturday to say, “I love you both.”
This time of the year is such a wonderful time for hope. Hope for the present and hope for the future. All of the interactions with family have given me such hope this year, and all I can do is smile and feel warm inside (because it is anything but warm outside).
Currently, I’m laying in a comfy recliner, wrapped in a warm blanket at one of Erin’s friend’s homes. She’s asleep on the blow up mattress behind me, and I can see the cloudless day outside. Perfection.
Things have smoothed out with the wedding planning, and I am beyond thankful to the Gods for that. We’ve booked our venue, florist, caterer, photographer and DJ. Everything is happening so fast and so slow at the same time. But I’m just enjoying the ride with my fiancé.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, no matter which one you celebrate.