My partner's family holds their family Christmas on Boxing Day, and this year we received an intriguing invitation to start a new tradition. The Rawson family had recently agreed to give a donation to charity instead of giving Christmas gifts; a few days before we were due to meet, my sister-in-law, Jo, came up with another new idea: to evolve the old tradition of exchanging boxes filled with gifts into a new tradition of sharing boxes filled with personal thoughts and insights and wishes.
Coming from a Jewish family, Christmas was never part of my childhood identity, and when I 'married into' the tradition, I was struck by many contradictions. In particular the much commented on commercialisation of Christmas. I always found it odd to hear people talking about Christmas shopping as if it was an expected duty (read: burden) – 'Have you done your Christmas shopping yet?'
Last night Derek and I headed to an event at the Emerging Writer's Festival. The topic was 'sex in literature', which interested us for reasons that I'll share down the track, however the actual event was titled 'Dirty Words' and this proved to be the theme of the day.
I'd been hoping to hear a wide-ranging sample of writings about sex – some raunchy, some thoughtful, some 'dirty', some sacred – but most of what was presented was comic, sad or tacky. And it was all contemporary. The comic skits were, mostly, quite enjoyable, but by the time we got to the end we both left feeling flat and disappointed. It seemed to us that most people view sex as sex; there was nothing about making love, nothing about the sacredness or intimacy of that connection. I've decided that I must offer myself as a speaker next time and represent the 'Other Side'!
If you've been following my blogs, you'll be aware that Derek, my partner of 22 years, headed off to follow his dreams a few weeks ago. Last week my daughters and I travelled to NSW to visit him, expecting that we would then return to Melbourne and not see him again for another 10 weeks or so. (See previous blog entries: 'Trusting Our Paths', 'House Hunting', and 'Amazing Synchronicity').
Derek is returning home. His willingness to trust that urge to go north and not resist it allowed him to fully feel and experience what he needed to up there, and he is now complete with that journey and will be heading back home soon.
Well, it's happening! Derek, my life-partner of 22 years, headed off last weekend to follow his dreams, as described in my 'Trusting Our Paths' blog of a few weeks ago.
So he's now in northern NSW and I'm here in Melbourne with our kids, and we are all stepping forward into the unknown. Saturday was pretty tearful for both of us, as we did those last few things and said our goodbyes and he drove away, but we are so certain that we are each doing the right thing that, aside from the sadness of diverging directions, we literally are 'trusting our paths'.