The lights twinkle in the darkness casting shades of red, blue, purple and green across the frosty rooftops. There’s a reverent stillness in the rich darkness that stretches out a little longer each night. The warm glow of the full moon will lead us closer to the winter solstice, where the daylight will become a little bit stronger. The weeks leading up to a new year are always flooded with earnest activity, but sometimes we need to step out of the bustle and into the stillness.
Between the siege of autumn storms and the oncoming blast of winter are pockets of quietness where the world stops to take a breath. It has been a busy year, and I find I have crashed into the hidden calm approaching the end of season. These quiet moments are restorative, a time for me to rest, heal my body and refresh my heart and soul. In the weeks before winter, I have slowed down to only the essentials, and RA too, has slipped silently into the twilight of what I call the “in-between.”
I think we often forget the value and power of the quiet moments. In the midst of the holiday season, it can be difficult to give myself some quiet space to focus on what is in front of me and not what is ahead of me. Here, in the “in-between” I am content to sit back and appreciate the little things in my life, to rest, to breathe, and not worry about what has passed or think about what comes next – to simply enjoy what is in front of me right now. Is it the book I just started reading? Is it seeking out time to visit friends and family before the holiday rush? Is it trying out a new recipe on a lazy Sunday, or going for an evening walk beneath the twinkling of seasonal lights?
This fleeting time in the “in-between” is my active state of inactivity. It’s a time to push the weight of my chronic illness to the peripheral edges, take a pause from the demands of life, and give myself a chance to silence that urgent voice pushing me forward before I can restore the power to sustain my wellness. It’s the gift I give myself, brief periods of stillness to replenish and restore my energy reserves to begin again or push through to the end.
There are only a few weeks left before the spark of a New Year. We cling to the hope it promises, the possibility of new conquests in our own battle with a chronic condition, the healing of a world that is wounded – this is the light that comes with the winter solstice, the faith and strength we find in the quiet of the “in-between” that we carry with us and offers us the opportunity to shine in new ways.
Soon enough, I’ll be tossed back into the feral center of my demanding life, but for now I’m content to linger in the purple twilight of the “in-between” and wait for the light to creep in.
I wish you all a peaceful holiday season, filled with love, warmth, happiness, and wellness.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.