A dark mood yesterday morning lifted after meeting a friend for lunch.  We connected.  We didn’t fix each other’s problems, we found comfort in mutual understanding.

At one point in the conversation he remembered fondly the peace he felt on Christmas Eve 2012 when we welcomed him into our family.  He was apart from his own family and under a lot of stress.  I felt the same feeling of peace descending that evening having him with us.

This Christmas one of my best memories was sharing my parents’ house and hospitality for a day with another family from their church, and organising games for their kids.  Time with close family is special but there’s an extra blessing in opening our homes and hearts wider.  It’s a minor sacrifice that often turns out to be no sacrifice at all – by giving we receive.

I feel a warm pride knowing how my parents are opening up their home for this family for a few months while they have nowhere else to stay.

I am choosing to dwell on times of togetherness, to dispel the post-Christmas melancholy.

Last night we ended the year in the company of more good friends over a too-short evening of conversation broken up by games on the Wii, before welcoming 2014 with a glass of champagne.  This morning we woke early to begin the new year with more friends on a walk in the rain.

Someone said to me recently, in a conversation about serving others, that we are not here to do things to people, or for people, only with peopleWe need to connect, to be together.  I forget this too quickly, being task-focused by nature.  So I’m glad to have started this new year well.