Wednesday, December 05, 2007


She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
"I thought you'd never say hello" she said
"You look like the silent type"
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue
Bob Dylan





It is so easy to find yourself tangled up in blue at this time of year. Scars reveal themselves more vividly. Heartmemories lap up on the shore again. Reflections, both lovely and not so, take a front seat in one's thoughts. And we trudge on searching for reason, searching for refuge, searching for a spot in Avalon.

Christmas.

I love Christmas. I'm one of those people who really loves the whole season......well, except New Years Eve. I could live without that night. That's when I seem to get tangled up in blue. But Christmas and the weeks leading up to it? Love it all.



It's probably a good thing that I love this season.... the traditions and the meaning because let me tell you, working in the frontlines at this time of year with individuals and families who live hand to mouth, who are on the other side of coping is always heartwrenching. It's the time of year when one relies on one's colleagues to share the feelings more than any other time, because everyone is feeling it. You'd have to be a robot not to.



But we do the best we can...........searching out community help in any way we can, helping to problem solve, offering a shoulder to lean and cry on. And while we are doing that, we hear about the quiet elves in the community who are helping to shoulder the burdens of the families in need......of the homeless and directionless.......of the down and out human beings who because of shit luck have ended up on the other side of your desk.



The elves.............doing God's work, untangling the blue.....



  • A small congregation from a community church who deliver sandwiches once a week throughout the year to people living in rooming houses have invited everyone to a dinner and celebration on Monday night. Each person who takes part will be given bag of essentials and extras to take home.....goods they can't afford to buy. These bags of essentials are full of donations from businesses in the community.....who quietly give without any recognition.
  • Another church downtown is hosting a dinner Christmas party for a group of families who wouldn't otherwise be able to organize their own celebrations because they are too busy just making ends meet, just putting food on the table one day at a time. The children will be front and centre.......and they will all forget for a short magical evening.
  • Feed Our Families campaign just kick started this week..........the local CBC radio station leads the way to raise enough money for 1, 500 needy families in the area to have all the fixings for Christmas dinner.
  • Donations are pouring in to the Community Kitchen.........turkeys and trimmings.........and they will have more volunteers to serve on Christmas Day than they know what to do with.
  • The Sally Ann is out ringing the familiar bells........all the money going to help out those in need.

There are some elves who take it upon themselves to put baskets together to leave anonymously on neighbours doorsteps......

It's all wonderful..........

I wonder, though.........how can we be there for the ones who aren't poor financially? How can we be with the ones who have for some reason drained their spiritual resources? They too are very much tangled up in blue.....struggling through dark nights, looking for sleep which won't come.....trying to find calm............??


No words.......just an invite to sit under the streetlights in peace. That's all. We just need to be with them listening to silent night.
ps. wanna know a secret, or maybe you already know this? Helping someone untangle their blue, always helps untangle your own.......



9 comments:

Gypsy said...

You are so right that helping someone untangle their blue, in turn helps you untangle yours. It always helps when you step outside yourself to help someone else. There is just as much reward for you as there is for them. God bless kind souls at this time of year.

I have always loved Christmas except for the shopping part but this year, not so much.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Being in social services myself, I am always warmed by the generousity that unfolds in people during the season ... what if we carried that feeling year 'round? Mmmm.... Love what you wrote about untangling the blue in others -- giving of ourselves is a gift to ourselves. Peace & love, JP/deb

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Love this post...love you, feeling tangled up in blue

Rainbow dreams said...

just had to dug out some Bob to listen to - haven't done for a long time now... tangled up in blue.. hugs Dana, x

Awareness said...

Gypsy.....I'm sure you hear poignant stories in your avon travels too at this time of year. I'm always so moved by the stories I hear....of the people out there helping and from some the individuals who are in need of help.
As for the shopping....I'm with you.
I'll send you an email this weekend, OK?

Deb....I was thinking the same thing when I was writing this piece. It's like we store it all up and give it out in a spree rather than keeping an eye and taking care throughout the year. I am always concerned in February, during the dead of winter when things become depleted at the soup kitchen and local food bank. The elementary schools in the city all have winter carnivals then. They also have a fun day to celebrate the 100th day of school. Part of the celebration is to bring in goods for the food bank....each class has a different item....to see if they can accumulate 100 plus of the item (cereal, canned goods etc). This started at my children's elementary school and has spread to the others......it really helps stock things up again. More of these kind of activities would promote awareness AND would help young ones learn to be giving community members.

Layla.......I heard this song on the radio the other day as part of a review of the documentary on Dylan. It completely stuck in my head..........rolling around in that cavern of mine until it merged with my thinking. Glad you liked it. :)

Katie.....good for you to pull out Dylan's stuff again! Jamie gave me a best of CD for Christmas a couple of years ago and every now and then, Dylan joins me in my office and helps keep me SANE.....oh, and "respectful" of others! hahahahaha!! As you know, its MANDATORY to be respectful in my work environment. :)

Ellen said...

Just the words I need to hear... untangling someone elses blues to ease my own. I shall try this, and perhaps I can "get" into the season after all.......

miss you lots and lots!

Marja said...

I love these words untangling the blue very much and will remember it. I used to love christmas. Here it is very different Most people are already on the camping with christmas and have a BBQ.
how enlightning to see all that help Here the Salvation Army does a lot of work

Awareness said...

Hi Ellen. Given that this is your busiest time of year working, I would think it's difficult to focus on the season for yourself. but, guess what? there's lots of time! Put on some of your favourite Christmas music this weekend and take a minute to just "be" for a while.....I bet you catch a little hint of holly. Glad to know you're out there. take care.

Marja. I would find it very strange to be arranging a camping/Bar BQ kind of Christmas, like you do. Like NZ, the Salvation Army are always out and doing such wonderful work in the community.

paris parfait said...

C'est vrai, Dana. Absolutement! xo