Kukla Christmas Letter 2015
Greetings Friends and Family,
I spent a bit today ready my annual Christmas letters from years past. I can’t find a couple and I wish I could – I’ll have to do some digging because there is something… spiritual to them. A cataloging of time that slips away quite fast from us. You can read my mood from them. Sometimes light and bouncy – sometimes like bullet point historical logs, sometimes sappy, and other times somber and almost dark, like last year’s “A Different Kind of Christmas Letter.”
This year? I’ve been through two deaths this week with memorial services next and there is a heaviness of heart for that. And it would be too overwhelming to catalog the year past. But what has hold on me, I think because of those realities, is gratitude for family and community. So this year what I’d like to share is my thanks.
I am grateful for my mother and father – they taught me many things. In the end I think the best lesson I learned from them was leadership as responsibility. Don’t find problems, be the solutions. No project is too big… or too small. And leaders lead where need is (not where you wish to be) and they have to do that from the trenches. I learned a lot more than that… but it all begins and ends there.
My sisters. I learned from them that love is messy… not cute or serene. Love is knowing all the things that annoy you about someone and then not letting that matter when the rubber meets the road. I learned tenacious spirit from each of my sisters. They are tough. Not hard. Not callous. Not serious… okay almost never serious. They have stick-to-it-tive-ness as we say. They taught me never to quit… and to always put the seat down on the toilet.
Caroline. Caroline is my partner in all things. Well almost all things… not Minecraft. She hates Minecraft with a passion. I think that is what I love in Caroline the most. Passion. She cares deeply for people. I try to understand people. Caroline just loves them, hurts with them, and laughs alongside them. I love that I get to do that every day. She is my rock. The foundation upon which I get to do a great many things. If you are every thankful for me… it’s Caroline that deserves that thanks.
Warren. Maybe I shouldn’t start with the 10 year old only son? 😉
I have said it before and I will say it again – if he can ever develop disciplines thought, Nietzsche’s long obedience in the same direction, he will rule the world. He is maybe the least naturally creative of my children. But he is resourceful and devilishly clever. And he has a good heart… most days. Warren teaches me patience – or he tries really hard to do so!
Elizabeth makes us laugh. She is the creative one in our family. Her facial expressions, goofy ability to mimic everyone… and me most of all, and the way she manages to poke fun at life on subjects that are far, wide, and deep let you know that beneath that comic exterior she is an incredibly insightful observer. Elizabeth teaches me to take note of different gifts because her genius lies outside the lines and the normal standards of measure but is plain to see all the same.
Meredith reminds me of my youngest sister Sally. She is exceptionally athletic when she wishes to be, can scale the side of a cliff, scamper down a mountain at full speed… I’m pretty sure she can run through a brick way without getting hurt because the girl is solid. I almost died trying to follow her on a hike because she is all mountain goat… and I am not. But she has this elf -like daintiness to her smile and she is Ms. Pink Princess to the T (or the P). She reminds me not to judge a book by the cover… or deny the book its chosen cover either. She loves pink and princess and she will literally end you if you think that makes her weak or a stereotype. I have no worries for her in life… only for the folk in her way.
Danielle is pure joy, except when she is isn’t. Her smile is larger than any room. She is barely three but you would never know it except that she still wears 18 month clothes. Still emerging in personality but it’s the joy I’m grateful for. No matter my mood when she enters a room, or I into hers, there is light the beams from her… and you cannot help but have your step lighten and lift, as she sings Elsa songs.
So much more. I’m grateful for church communities past and present who share life with me and let me share theirs. I am allowed to walk into people’s lives and I’m so grateful for that. I’m thankful for friends scattered over the globe quite literally… well literally I have friends all over the globe, not friends in pieces all over. That would be gross.
Thank you for the tears and laughter, for debates and miscommunications that become enriched knowledge and awareness, for sharing and listening, for helping me and admitting when you needed help. You teach and remind me that in the end it’s all about shared lives. Covenantal faithfulness in all its myriad varieties. I do not greet you as family AND friends… You are all family. You are all friends. And I am grateful for you all… most of the time. 😉
So I see that I’m working myself to half way down a second page. The five people still reading are ready to be done and the rest of you just tuned back in, if at all. I am thinking about radical presence this evening. I hope and pray that you are gathered, wherever you are, with others. That you may be radically present – open, vulnerable, hearing, sharing, caring – to each other. May we all learn from one another to be so. I truly believe that this is the only way there will be peace in our world. So let there be peace on earth… and let it begin with you.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays today and into the new year.
Andrew and the Boise Kukla Family