My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

Forget your perfect offering

It’s nearly midnight; a quick note before my Neo-Citran and I snuffle off to bed. Tonight began another Xmas tradition; from now on, I want to spend the evening of December 23rd with Leonard Cohen, locked in a passionate embrace.

Tonight I decided to lie low and wrap presents while watching the DVD my dear friend Annie gave me for my birthday – Leonard Cohen, live in London in 2008. What a treat! The man is gorgeous, his voice mesmerizing and soul-shivering, and the new Buddhist Leonard is so humble and sweet. He grinned at the audience like a gleeful boy, he kept saying, “It’s an honour to play for you tonight,” he spotlighted the extremely talented members of his band over and over. And he struck a final blow for ageists everywhere – the man is 75, he looks not like the wild man of Canadian poetry but like John Kenneth Galbraith, but when he sings “I’m your man,” those lines of furious sexual passion rocked me to my slippers. He is the sexiest 75 year old man alive. Holy God.

“I did a long study of religion,” he said, “but then cheerfulness crept in.” “So long, Maryanne,” heaven. “Suzanne.” “Sisters of Mercy,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Another of his songs had lines that seemed particularly relevant to Christmas.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

I wrapped and watched and sang along and, of course, had a tear or two at the end. Thank you, beautiful Leonard. Now everything is wrapped, and I’m almost done. A friend visited this afternoon and remarked on how relaxed I was, and I can tell you, it has been many, many years since I was relaxed on December 23rd, if ever. We have old videotapes of the family at Christmas, and I’m so unlike my real self in them, that thirty-something woman dealing with the demands of young children, parents and other relatives and a husband who wasn’t around much and her own soul that had not yet had the gift of many years of psychiatric explanations … Incredible tension and sheer exhaustion, trying to be and do everything for everybody, feeling responsible for every bit of it, wanting it all to be right, presents, house, tree, food, everybody’s happiness. No wonder she looks and sounds as if she’s underwater, trying to surface.
And then divorce, the horror of the children having to go back and forth and all the other wretched rips and tugs of this time of year for the divorced. And then, for a bit of added stress, I undertook to produce the local Christmas pageant for 9 years, so this day was spent making last minute calls, planning and preparing the event, with all the rest still to do.
Now someone else produces the pageant, the children are adults, and I have partially resigned from Christmas. Most of what’s wrapped under the tree is second-hand, with new books and a few other needed items. It looks great, lots of wrapped packages, but there’s not much money invested. There are many ways I want to spend money on my loved ones; rushing out to load up on December 23rd isn’t one of them.
Somewhere, I have always been afraid that the kids would not forgive me if their dreams didn’t come true on Christmas morning. Well, now we know – I can’t make their dreams come true, and I think they’ve forgiven me for that. We’ve forgiven each other.
Two friends have just come through serious operations and are well again; that’s what’s important. We’re together, that’s what’s important.
Let’s eat.



3 Responses to “Forget your perfect offering”

  1. The most beautiful thing you have written.

  2. beth says:

    Thank you so much, Chris. The joy of the season to you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm more than happy to uncover this website. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff in your blog.

    Also visit my site :: best binary options

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.