December has always been my favorite month because….CHRISTMAS! And here we are—it’s already Dec. 1st. Charles Dickens famously wrote: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” Words I try to live by, particularly in December.
Unfortunately, in our commercialized society, it feels like the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend has become more important than than even the family traditions, let alone the spiritual. Or at least thats what advertisers and media would have us believe. Shops are open on Thanksgiving Day now? Seems a little oxymoronic, don’t you think? Video footage of people stampeding into department stores in order to be first to the bargain, hair-pulling and vandalism. Hmm…happy holidays. What a depressing start.
The message sent is that this season just seems to be about getting more (even if it is under the guise of generosity.) We stop to be thankful for a big meal and then its on to spending, accumulating. I know this isn’t really what everyone thinks, but it was getting me down yesterday as I started packing up Vernon’s things into boxes. I thought: I don’t want anything MORE in my life right now, I want less. Less stuff, less chaos, less drama, fewer piles of paperwork, fewer responsibilities, less of the unknown ahead.
Why am I packing when we don’t have a place to move to? It just feels like I’m doing SOMETHING to clear out the space. Maybe if I can start moving boxes out of the house into the garage, my head will start clearing as well. My landlady is wonderful, renting this house to us for the past year and a half, but the move has always been inevitable. I just didn’t expect to have to look for a place and move house without Vernon’s help. We have to find a place by February. (3 bedrooms and wheelchair access, if anyone has any leads.)
There is time. But like I said, it just feels good to start packing and putting away. I have scant control of anything in the moment., but I do have the ability to put things in boxes, a little at a time. Perhaps it was my rotten attitude about the SEASON this year (see above) but I found myself getting quite emotional as I packed up Vernon’s belongings, starting with things he obviously won’t need for a long time: Bicycling gear, soccer kit, books with letters to small to read. I found it freeing and sad at the same time. I don’t know if he will use these things again, but its important to keep them with us. I don’t know where we are going yet, but he will eventually meet up with us (and his stuff) on the other side of this move.
The thing about packing, is it creates even more of a mess before things get tidier. Eventually I found it too strange and sad trying to make “less” for myself, so I pulled out the “more” in the garage that I’d been promising the kids all day. Our old cheap Charlie-Brown christmas tree, which it turns out, is on its last two (of three) supporter-legs. Once we rigged a sort of leaning/standing position for it, I wrapped it with lights, and Justine went nuts, hanging every ornament that could be tied with a string (she insists I buy more string today for the leftovers) and Maki playing holiday-music DJ on his iPad.
It didn’t take long for my heart to soften with the warm glow of the lights and the children’s delight. Ah, that familiar thing…Christmas Joy, it IS still in there. It just had to be brought out. I had to stop thinking about those other responsibilities for awhile in order to find it. Once again, it was the kids who helped me. I went to bed last night, feeling better than I had all day. I woke up this morning looking forward to things, with less dread of the unknown. I woke up this morning with space for MORE in my soul again. I’m expanded.
I leave you with one of the charming songs on Maki’s Christmas Playlist
Bring on Christmas! It’s the best time of the year, after all!