Where Did My Life Go?


I’ve been getting along just fine this year during this crazy and wonderful season that centers, for me, in the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I don’t have family nearby, so I am fortunate to have friends that include me in some of the festivities of these days. I’ll spend Christmas Day with three hearty and stalwart women who have become dear friends in this past year. I’ll hold a candle and sing “Silent Night” in two churches on Christmas Eve. I’ll go to a Robbie Robinson concert on Friday with friends – it’s been 20 years since I’ve heard his powerful tenor voice, and I can’t wait! 

But wouldn’t you know…life has other plans just when you think you’re doing oh, so well.  Yesterday, I came across a video of a beautiful, magical  Luther College Christmas celebration, with its magnificent choirs. Snow. And college kids romping in the deep, fluffy white stuff. Choristers with elf hats practiced for the upcoming concert. And the concert itself – with a powerful, candlelit “The First Nowell,” blew my mind with its power and beauty. All was well. My heart was full.

Then, unexpectedly, I got caught by memories of 77 Christmases that have passed since I came into this amazing, complicated world. I saw faces that triggered thoughts of my rich years in all kinds of choirs. I watched children laughing in the snow. I remembered my children, baking cookies with their Grandma, and my Dad, making the lefse that Norwegians need for Christmas.

It didn’t stop with Christmas, though. I saw a whole album of my life’s pictures passing by, and they were so powerful that I could feel nothing but a profound gratitude. The bad stuff, the tough stuff, the painful stuff all gave way to the gift that so much of my life has been.

And then it hit me – I have already lived most of my life already! I can never do any of it again. It’s all gone. Done. Of course that’s nothing new, but for the first time, I could feel it “in my bones.” It was the joy that I was remembering. Yet for a time, it made me incredibly sad. Perhaps because so often I took it all for granted.

And I wanted to say to everyone –

live your life so that when you look back,

you are drawn to the joy that was there.

Practice gratitude every day, and that will happen.

Watch for grace to show up in unexpected ways.

Don’t take the best moments for granted.

And I want to say to myself and to you – the future has just as many opportunities for joy if we keep looking for it, finding today’s graces for the rest of our years. And not taking it all for granted. We call it “mindfulness” now.

May you be blessed in this season, and may the memories you are making now make for a rich and beautiful older age. We only go through this life once, and we have more power than we realize to make it one to remember.

And I’m very okay with that.

Much love to you all,



12 thoughts on “Where Did My Life Go?

  1. Oh my dear Martha. Thank you for this beautiful reflection with such important reminders. This holiday season has been a bit of a struggle due to illness that is just about behind me. While it hasn’t been “the best” in the holiday memory category, I am still deeply grateful for all of it — even the messy parts. I sure wish I had some way to hear you sing. Are there recordings I could access online somehow? Hope you are healthy and well, friend. I have been on social media very little the past month — it’s usually the first energy saving step I take when needed! Haha! With hugs and gratitude, Martha BrettschneiderFounder, Damselwings, LLCtrainings and artful inspiration for mindful living (703) 919-4230 Websites: http://www.damselwings.com & http://www.siyli.orgFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarthaBrettschneiderWriterInstagram: http://www.instagram.com/marthabrettLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/marthabrettschneider/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Martha! It’s so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for your kind words. I have been following you when you are on Facebook, and I’ve loved all of damselwings, but I’ve also loved seeing this whirlwind that is your beautiful and mindful life! I was so sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering through this holiday for too long…I hope that you’re almost back to normal, because this big world needs you! Here’s to continuing to create as meaningful a life as we can with the time that we’ve been given! TOM


  2. Beautifully spoken…wise, sage advice. Every moment in life matters; each moment is a gift from God. If we try to live those moments the best we can, we have fewer regrets. Merry Christmas! Oh, the collective joy of looking back, and the peace of knowing we move forward with God. With Him all our days are precious…all the memories, keepsakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Martha, for this post! Yes, it is sad to realize how much of our life is gone forever, but it is also empowering to realize that the future still holds the promise of good. Mostly, as you remind us, this lets us know just how very important it is to live in the moment, and to treasure all the good that comes our way today. Because tomorrow it will be nothing more than a memory….. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My hope is that we who have lived longer can get through to those who are young yet to tell them just how precious life is at every age. You’re much younger than I, and you already know this! Yay! Merry Christmas, Ann, and thanks so much for your support all these months.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, yes, my thoughts too have run along this line. So much life is behind me, and yet, I know there are many good things to come. I am trying to remember the anticipation I had in my youth for new years and new experiences, when all of life spread out before me, and live in that anticipation now. Because I realize time has limits, I am not staying in places or positions that do not give me absolute joy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing how life comes into focus when the timeline shortens, isn’t it? And to be brave in the midst of that reality is to be wise indeed. Robert Browning had it right…the best is yet to come. Amazing, since I keep thinking sometimes that life just doesn’t get any better. And then it does! The grace of surprise.

      Liked by 1 person

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