Friday, December 19, 2014

A visit from The Ghost of Christmas Perfect

My house is in its typical state of controlled chaos, a jumble of shoes and bags at the front door, shreds of wrapping paper here and there, a Christmas tree in the front window and Thanksgiving colors still on the kitchen table. We've not sat there much at all as a family over the past three weeks. It's been nonstop since the pumpkin pie was finished.

Due to circumstances, my age, or whatever, I have stopped worrying about Christmas. If I were to re-tell Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" today, I'd add a new ghost to the line-up of past and future. I'd write in The Ghost of Christmas Perfect. In the same way our mind becomes accustomed to airbrushed and photoshopped models in advertising, we also learn to see the elusive, perfect Christmas and strive mightily toward that perfection thinking it will make everything just right.

What would The Ghost of Christmas Perfect show you?

Would your home be ready for its magazine feature? Would you host lavish parties? Would you have just the right gift for everyone on your list AND have a basket of perfectly wrapped gifts at the front door, just in case you need one? Would your tree be the envy of the neighborhood? Your outdoor lighting display, breathtaking?

Dickens scared the daylights out of Scrooge, so in keeping with the tone of the novel, The Ghost of Christmas Perfect might walk through our dreams laden with extremely heavy wrapped packages, sunken eyes from lack of sleep, a neverending list of things-to-do, a shrinking pot of money, an enormous credit card bill, and a loudly ticking clock. The Ghost of Christmas Perfect shows us that perfection is something we may strive for, but it isn't really perfection we want. Everything may be picture-perfect, but is it real?

I suggest that it isn't a perfect Christmas we're longing for. We very well may pull off what we think is the perfect Christmas, but we are left unsatisfied and disappointed. I think what we are longing for is something like fulfillment, being content. It's warmth and kindnesses. It's a feeling of peace, within us and around us. It's feeling like we are enough at this present moment and it is good. None of that can be bought, planned, wrapped, or sprinkled with colored sugar. It's about being open to all that the world offers in all your vulnerability, to let love in, to really realize that your life is precious and brief, and to not waste a moment in fear, anger, or hate.

What does your Ghost of Christmas Perfect show you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Within the past 24 hours, it hit me.

The list of things 'to-do' became more challenging than usual. Work projects, deadlines, and situations coming to a head, started dancing like sugar plum fairies in my mind. Add to the mix all the holiday preparations to those deadlines, and the sugar plum fairies begin to lose their cuteness. They are not lithe little ballerinas any longer but Sumo wrestlers all jockeying for my attention and taking up far too much room.

Can I get an amen?

My beloved says to me, "You don't have any time to rest." And I'm caught off-guard. 
What? Where is that on the list? There are projects and grants and meetings and cookies and gifts and stuff falling off the plate that I hope isn't too important. Everyone has lists like this, right? Especially in December?

As those Sugar Plum Sumos bounced and jostled through their dance this morning at 4 a.m., I decided not to fight them for a few more moments of sleep, but to start the day and the coffee pot.

It's funny how those Sumos got smaller in the darkness of the morning. When I realized that this was a list of things I get to do, I appreciated them more. They returned to being little girls following the dainty choreography of the dance. 

This little cosmic reminder that came to me this morning reminded me of what I knew all along. It will get done as it needs to. 

Take time to pause, to be thoughtful, to rest as you move through The List of Things to Do.