Snow fell yesterday. Softly covered everything with a white silent blanket. The world has become very clean for a moment. I remember once, when I was a little girl, just before Christmas, I was sitting in a window. “What are you doing?” My parents asked. “I am waiting for snow to fall” – I replied. “You know, there is not always snow for Christmas” – they gently tried to explain. They did not convince me. And the snow … fell. “See?” – I triumphed.

A gift, not a given
Well, now I know that white Christmas is a gift, not a given.

Today is the longest night of the year in this part of the planet. A world immersed in darkness. Darkness illuminated by the silvery moonlight – tomorrow is a full moon. I take them for granted. Like the fact that as of tomorrow days start getting longer. Like the gravity that works, whether I think about it or not. In-breath that comes after each out-breath. The fact that I can see, that I can hear, that I can feel.

I take for granted the house in which I live, the forest that surrounds it, street lamps illuminating the dark, the money in my account, the set prices in my local store and the fact that even if they run out of bread, it will be there tomorrow again. I did not really earn these certainties, I got most of them as a gift – along with the family I was born into; the country in which I came into the world; times in which I live.

Illuminate the night
What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude – says Brene Brown. Gratitude cannot be forced – I add.
I look around to see what it is that I take for granted. What is it, without which my life would be less – livable?

And what if, in this darkest of nights, we illuminate what “just is” in our lives? The usually unseen, the invisible. The people. The animals. The things. The places. Those that we lean on, perhaps offhandedly, and without which nothing would be the same.

And if we could say to each and every one of them – I see you, it’s so good that you are here.

And remember to look into the mirror too…

Aga Rzewuska-Paca