We threw a party last night, out of sheer joy and triumph, Nina, Rob, and me.
We've all had a very big learning year, a big growth year, and the party idea felt so right.
Maybe twenty-five people, many under thirty years of age with my children and their friends, all packed in together shoulder to shoulder on sofas or standing around the dining room table, everyone boisterous and jovial.
Many had never met before, some were related to each other, some had been friends all their lives.
So many stories, so many hopes and dreams being told.
At one point during the height of the festivities, someone broke out into song, praising the owner of the house, Rob Genadek, and everyone joined in on "for he's a jolly good fellow".
I'm sure it could be heard all up and down our quiet little city street.
This little house has never held more joy than it did last night.
The wonderful front porch was festooned with lights and spruce garlands, and all the lanterns and all the candles were lit.
People came in through the front door saying, "well, there was no mistaking which house was having the party, that's for sure!"
All of this means a lot to me because I've been making my way back for several years.
Some people who were here last night actually congratulated me, saying, "She's back!"
You know, I took the fall.
You know, I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.
"...bank account in a matching shade of red, credit card denied, drive me home put me to bed...." (from my song Crash And Burn)
And I paid the price for my decisions, my recklessness, my determination to go out and seek my destiny.
".....cast out to follow some faint strain, while the wind whips us blind and, four winds howl down from the treacherous skies, and we pray for an omen, something that was promised still rings in our brains, like the bells of the mission, we meet the great owl's steely white gaze and refuse to look away and, an eagle watches us from a high place, and we plead for a sign..." (from my song "Apparition")
I've followed the signs through wind and rain, through sleet and hail.
I'm not calling it too soon, I don't think, when I say that I have arrived.
I've arrived at a place of some comfort and civilization.
The comfort this season was provided by a handful of very excellent shows and some donations by some very excellent supporters of my music and me.
The comfort was provided by my house mates, Rob and my daughter Nina, who have both helped me so much this year.
So I feel that I've come out of a long trek through deep dark forest, an uphill rocky path, difficult and threatening.
I feel that I've come out onto an open clearing at the top of a hill, a clearing with tall grass and daisies, an unobstructed view of hilltops and valleys for miles ahead, clear blue sky, birdsong and the buzzing of happy bees.
The Sound Of Music.
I can hear it and see it and feel it.
It's just that kind of Christmas.
How many more will we see all together?
We don't know, we never get to know.
We can only take pleasure in our successes and take comfort in each others' comradery in our trials.
Last night we did all of that.
At one or two in the morning I was handed a guitar, most of the revelers had gone home, and I played "Oh Holy Night" and the Leonard Cohen "Hallelujah".
My son and I sang harmony together on his favorite, Neil Young's "Four Strong Winds".
We all sang John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas".
Oh God, we had fun.
I'm sure our little house was way too loud, all evening, and especially then, on this quiet little city neighborhood street.
But it was our first real party in many years, and we were making up for lost time.
Tonight I get to sing with the church choir.
I'll leave home at six p.m. and I won't be home again until probably one in the morning.
The last service we'll sing is eleven to midnight.
We'll all hold candles and sing "Silent Night".
Yes we will.
And I will be overtaken with my gratitude for this beautiful Christmas, the gift, the many gifts, of this beautiful season.
The Holy Spirit.
This, for me, will go down in history as the December when I gave up and gave in.
I surrendered to the absurdity of the story of the virgin birth.
I allowed myself to embrace the truth, which, as I see it, is that the only way we can control our destinies at all is if we can drop our agendas and allow ourselves to be lead by the forces of goodness, forces that work strongly in our favor when we are faithful and we believe.
Let go, let God.
Jesus take the wheel.
The Universe co-conspires with you when you have a heart full of gratitude and love.
I have seen it this Advent season, miracles working in my little day to day life.
How dare you not be fabulous when you are a child of God?
Ain't it the truth.
All things are mine 'cause I am loved, how can I keep from singing?