Even when we might be similar, or have things in common, there's a vast number of things that make us different, one from the other.
One of the wonders, though, of being connected to the military, whether you're a service member, a spouse, or a family member, is the realization of connections above and beyond the vast differences.
Be they beliefs, traditions, even branches of service-there has come a point for pretty much every single one of us where we realized that we could build community beyond that. And in being able and willing to do that, and in the doing of it, we found that who we are grows and expands beyond what we thought to be reality.
Each member of our Her War team has come from different backgrounds. Our relationship to the military has been different, some of us have served, some of us have not, some of us are divorced, some of us are not-every single one of us has a different story and voice.
And, we all have different traditions and beliefs.
There's nothing like the end of the year to bring out everyone's different mindsets.
Over the next week or so, we'll be sharing with you our different traditions, mindsets, thoughts, and feelings about the holidays.
We hope that our stories bring you cheer, laughter, thought, and connection as we finish out this trying year the way we started-together, working to build something bigger and better than the sum of its parts.
Given that this was my idea, last minute as it was, I figure it's my place to start. I was going to make a pun about Hanukkah having already passed us over, but it's not been here yet. I am, actually, that bad about tracking other well known holidays, never mind the lesser known holidays.
So, I'm going to chat with all y'all for a bit about what I do know happens this month, the thing I actually take a moment for.
I was raised very, very Christian.
Not in a good way.
Most of the major holidays observed in the US cause me some level of stress and upset from this.
After I'd left home, and started to learn to be a person outside of my family's beliefs, I happend upon the pagan holidays. Now, I'd heard of them, read of them in passing, as a child, reading history books and such, but didn't really give them much thought until after I'd left home and realized the amount of pain I had surrounding the "celebrations" of my youth.
The days that stood out to me were the solstices and equinoxes.
Now, a great many, many things concering old celebrations have been lost over the centuries, thanks in part to conquering civilizations and religions.
But, the fact of the matter is, no matter who you are or what you believe, the solstices and equinoxes still happen- the marks of the longest day, the longest night, the mid points between each one.
And I love the idea of the year split into 4 parts-4 different times of the year when you can sit down, light a candle and maybe some incense, and consider what you've done in the last quarter and where you want to be in the next.
I love the idea of the day and night being equal, the knowledge that the night will slowly start to take over the day, and the day slowing taking over the night, allowing the changes everything growing needs.
I love the idea, in the midst of summer, of the day stretching out further that is comfortable to be awake, filling me with warmth and sun to remember against the cold and dark of winter.
I love the idea of, in the dead of winter, on the day with the longest night, the taking of a little time to remember that yes, today was dark and short, but tomorrow will come a little earlier, last a little longer.
The sun is coming back. Things will grow again. Change will happen.
On the equinoxes, I take a little time to think about what I've done since the last solstice, and decide if that is where I still want to go. Anything could happen on those days, the days wherein everything is equal, the light and the dark.
On the solstices, I light a candle and consider how I want the garden of who I am to grow.
What am I going to aim for, plant, cover up and protect in the winter months?
What am I going to water, weed, encourage, and eventually mulch in the summer months?
When, and what, do you cultivate in the garden of your mind?