I didn't have the intention of writing about Mommom in this post, but... it was bound to come up. I was stirring coffee tonight, this Christmas night, with a silver spoon of hers, a part of a whole set of silver utensils, a set that is a little piece of an extensive and diverse collection of beatiful, delicate things, all of which I love. I was stirring and smiling and realizing how much I loved delicate, pretty little things and the love and care that they require in their usage. It is these little things that made my Christmas so special this year. There are many little aspects, like the very first Christmas of the Lasses of Tullaroan (our Girls Only Club), the candles burning all over the house (thanks to Libbi), the bountiful gifts (among other things, the crème brȗlée set and sleek little new camera I got), bringing up the gifts at Christmas morning Mass, preparing and then enjoying a feast, cleaning up while Mumsy caught up with family, settling down with mom for coffee, sweets, and a movie with Mumsy... I am so grateful. I love Christmas so much, and this has been a special one indeed.
Mmm... there are so many ideas swirling around in my head. I think I'll continue to write about them.
In doing a little Christmas web-surfing, Mumsy came accross a blog about Christmas memories of NBC Today Show anchors and the subsequent replies of readers sharing their own Christmas memories. She had me read one that got particularly 'philosophical' (as Mumsy put it) written by a Ms. Diana Jones of Nanuet, New York. I'll repost it here:
"I have fond memories of Christmas, yet I always feel a bit sad. But perhaps the feeling of sadness at Christmas time isn’t really sadness, but rather a painful, relentless longing for love, happiness and the kind of perfection found only in novels and movies. For the giddy redemption of Scrooge when he awakes and realizes it isn’t too late, that he is alive and it’s Christmas and that he has time to be kind and good. For happy family gatherings without anger, resentment, competition and pit-in-your- stomach stress. For quiet evenings in front of a roaring fire. For a home with two parents who love each other. We are barraged with peaceful, happy images in our cards and advertisements. Unrealistic as they are, we want them, yearn for them in abundance. In fact, Christmas is a day when many are sick or dying, many are on the brink of divorce or financial ruin or have been recently fired or rejected by a loved one. Many are fighting a war far from home. It’s a day when too many children long for kind words from a parent or sibling…and receive none. For many, life is hard and it goes on, despite the fact that it’s Christmas. Try as we might, it’s impossible to pretend all is well, even for one day. Christmas is, if anything, a time to feel vaguely disappointed and angry that life, realistically, can’t always be better, that people can’t always be loving and kind, that wars will always exist, that parents divorce, that too many diseases cannot be cured, that families will never, never be perfect. Still, we sing, we drink, we dance, we hug and kiss each other and hope for a bit of magic every December 25th."
So... I felt myself getting more and more worked up and offset as I read this reply. I started to talk to Mumsy about it, but not very deeply. I feel the need to scribe a rebuttle, not in a counter-comment on that blog or anything, but in my own little way, here in my journal. I feel honest pity for people who are so embittered by life that they cannot truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Ms. Jones has quite a litany of tragic realities of everyday life, things that cannot be avoided, holidays or not, that could make fore a sad Christmas. She deeply empathizes with people with all kinds of serious problems and makes sure to point out that the existence of these tragedies that no one can escape stray very much from the perfect picture of holidays we are bombarded with. Yes, it ends with a happy little note. "Still..." ... A little afterthought, it appears, to not let the post get too heavy. It is, afterall, Christmas...
Well, everyone knows that there is no perfect family and there are no perfect holidays, thankyouverymuch. Yes! EVERYONE knows this! so why must you rehash it! This gets to me so much! For me, this is the first Christmas after a separation, something that was initially very hard to come to terms with. It was Chrismas at the end of a year of many losses of life (Rest in Peace Chris Jones, Mrs. Salata, Grandma Ruth, Peter Rudegeair and others...), a Christmas after a rocky first term of college, a Christmas in the midst of troubles over eating and exercise habits and a Christmas in the middle of a trouble presidency and a war. There. I just listed just a few of some problems that come to mind. But it doesn't sit right with me to conjure up those things. Everybody know that everybody has problems, great and small, and that perfection is only a fantasy. But that's not what it's all about. You're missing the point, Ms. Jones. I believe that for every woe in one's life, there is an equal thing to be grateful for. And at Christmas, it it practually a duty to concentrate on these blessings, rather than the obstacles, if not at Christmas, then all year long. We can't count on other people to always lift our spirits and make it a hella special Christmas for us while we sit on our arses and ruminate on negative things. We need to look on the bright side of things and make it that way for other people (like giving gifts). We need to "be the change that [we] want to see in the world" (Mohandas Gandhi).
Deep down... I know that I have been blessed perhaps more than many people. I did mention using a silver spoon to stir my coffee... reminds me of some favorite song lyrics by Bryan Adams: "Some people walk the straight and narrow - some walk the rocky road; Some get the silver spoon and some get the heavy load..." But the refrain, and the name of that song are what really matter: "...But a little love - just a little love - a little love can change it all"
How beautiful. And how simply true.
A little love, a little thankfulness, a little faith... These little things that ANYONE can practice can mean a lot and can go a long way.
I don't know how else to say it.
There is a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy and it's not from anything silver or porcelain or silk that I love so much. It's from being thankful for everything, and seeing that the people you love have things to be thankful about too.