Posted in Writing Life

In Praise of Reality

This week I’ve been very tired after a flurry of busy preparations for the release of Web of Angels as well as months of homework, swim lessons, hockey games and nagging about the multiplying swarms of mess. When the days get short, my need for rest makes itself known in despondency or in bad temper. Trees are resting; squirrels are resting. It’s only we humans, with our stubbornly perverse ideas, who insist on partying, buying, and exchanging false smiles for gifts nobody wants.

These are the things that are restoring me to myself and my family. I went for a walk. In a cement supply outlet I saw a pale green structure that looked like a cement mixer topped by a small peaked hut with a door. On the ground next to it was a red truck. I walked past a short old man wearing a hat with ear flaps. We smiled at each other. Later I went skating. I made a Hanukah card for one child and sewed a book bag for the other.

The bag started out as a sweatshirt–and it was in process for a long time to be made over into a quilted jacket. Instead it’s ended up as a book bag and I felt so happy making it:

At this time of year commercialism seeks to displace what is real, the simple things around us and the underlying reality of love and light that connects us. And in reaction to that, I see a lot of anger–about “happy holidays” replacing “merry Christmas” or about the inescapable Christmas songs and decorations. But I think the anger is about something deeper. It’s about missing the reality, the need for rest, the yearning for light, the desire to connect, and the loneliness and ache of all the seasons that love and light weren’t perceptible.

I’m going for a walk now to touch base with that reality, inner and outer. And this evening, when we watch our simple candles burn, I will see the light and know it in my heart.

May winter be good to you; may it birth hope and new life.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

9 thoughts on “In Praise of Reality

  1. I think your sentiments will resonate with most, Lilian. I have no appetite for the shopping and spending anymore, absolutely none, and I find myself appalled by what all these empty, meaningless things cost the average family. Here in Sydney, the prices are breathtaking, and it makes me sad that consumerism is shoved down our throats so successfully when much simpler concepts, like decency and patience and courtesy, seem to be on the skids. But everyone is tired, and summer has been imperious to those of us who have waited so hopefully for its arrival, and so I find myself looking forward to nothing so much as stopping for a day or two and trying to recharge before we begin again. I wish your lovely family a restful, contented time. xx

    1. And a merry Christmas to you! I’ve been thinking about you and my other friends who live in the southern hemisphere. Christmas in summer must have a whole different feel. But in some ways not–ie the pressure and the desire for rest and quiet.

  2. So spot on with this, Lilian! I get sicker every year of the amount of preparation that Christmas demands (not asks for, but exacts like a ransom note) and the enforced jollity. I am a big fan of reality myself and the real things are exactly what we are missing. Bravo to your sentiments, my friend!

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