Christmas is Temporary

From 2014:

Christmas is fleeting. All year long, we wait in anticipation of the holidays and then we complain the whole time. It’s too crowded, cold, busy, expensive, gluttonous, hurried. I didn’t get what I wanted. I gave everyone a present and now I’m broke and alone.

The spirit. The spirit of the holidays. The joy of Christmas. What is it? Is it lights? Is it cocoa? Is it candy, presents, cookies? Is it the promise and hope of magic? But it never comes. We wait all year and it never comes. And then the lights fade and the tinsel is taken down.

Christmas is temporary.

But it’s not. What is it we are waiting for? What is it that we miss every year and chase after time and again? It’s Christ. That’s what we are really looking for and we’re looking in the wrong places. Is it in this tin of cookies? Is it in this neatly-wrapped box? Is it at the bottom of my second cup of cocoa? Is it at my 2nd, 3rd, 7th Christmas karaoke party?

An entire season is dedicated to what started out as a celebration of giving and hope. Hundreds of years have come and gone, each renewing the tradition of Christmas. But each year some family grows further apart. Each year some person grows more jaded, cynical, greedy and Scrooge-like. Each year our eyes grow more narrow and short-sighted. Each year we try to chase our pleasure, fulfillment and that indescribable magic that only caught us as children because we were bright-eyed and open.

Years ago, at the Blue Ridge Mall, they had a display. I don’t remember now if it was all the time or just at Christmas, but I remember it at Christmas. We were in line for Santa and the line snaked by a huge oil fall. It’s a waterfall except they used oil on strings. It’s like a waterfall in slow motion. It was magical, beautiful and a wondrous summation of the holiday experience for me. I lost myself in the endless strings dripping with glowing, hypnotic oil. I felt warm, silly and excited. I drank in the luxury of it all as I waited for Santa. I don’t remember Santa exactly, but I remember the strings. I wanted to reach out and grab them. But instead I swallowed my fingers and excitement over and over again at simply being near them. At that point, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I remember Mom and Dad close by. I remember my siblings there too. I remember the sounds of cheerful shoppers as they shuffled by and their muffled packages swaying back and forth in their clasped hands. I remember the soft mall lighting and the quiet aromas of furniture, leather shoes, popcorn, clothing, carpet and mall food. I remember feeling safe, happy, joyful. The mood was love. And everyone felt it.

Now, I’ve begun a tradition with my family. We try to see Longview Lake Lights. We’ve been coming off and on for a few years now. And the best part. They have a field full of trees made from lights. Those are my favorite. They remind me of the oil fall. Delicate pearls of light suspended in the darkness, soft purple and blue, hanging on invisible strings melting into the night. For the last couple of years, it’s the most peaceful and the most child-like capture of innocence and wonder I’ve known. I’m five again. I’m eight again. I’m me before all the bad. I’m in Christmas up to my neck and in love with the world.

I wish I could take that with me. I wish I could visit the lights every night. But I can’t. The lights are even closer now that we live here, but even so, I can’t see them every night. But I can look for Christ. I can look for him every day and celebrate his birth. I don’t have to wait for “the day”. And I can try to capture his joy, his love, his intention, his gift every single moment, all year long. I can look for it as I drive, shop, eat and talk. I don’t have to wait all year and miss it. I can look and find it. I just have to be bright-eyed and open. His love is hanging right in front of our faces on an invisible string of light, dripping down and mesmerizing us with the delicate, graceful fall and we just have to reach out and grab it.

Merry Xmas! Happy Holidays! May you find many joys and love.

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Wild

from 2013:

when Brain and Heart are not in agreement, the stress is immense.

worry and fear take over. completely.

God and his word tell us not to worry. let tomorrow worry for itself.

how do you make the heart run like the mind? or mind like heart?

or make either run after/for God?

my answer would be, for myself, to myself, pray.

pray for the desire of God’s will. always. until his will is my desire automatically.

Buddhism-4 noble truths-suffering is universal, desire is suffering, stop wanting things, suffering will end

stop putting things in the place where God should go.

train your brain, Martha. and your heart.

the heart is wild, but so can our desire be for God.

Tiny Bites

You must live life in tiny bites
Not just one big meal
The individual elements
All lead to the big reveal

If you rush the course, you’ll miss, of course
The grandest of smallest detail
Prepared with careful hands and eyes
Crafted to perfection without fail

You’ll miss the sunrise, the moon and stars,
The beautiful changing tide,
The slowest snail or unmarked trail,
The hidden mountainside

Good food and life are causes to
Celebrate, commune, rejoice
What good is gobbling down
A lonely plate of misery’s choice

You must take your time, slowly chew
Savor every single bit
Swallow too fast or take a big gulp
You’re going to choke on it

UR in Ruin

You’re in ruin.
Not from your doing.
Rejected, brokenhearted, beaten, betrayed
By brutal behavior–reckless and unstaid.

You don’t deserve that.

Rise from your ash.
Emerge from the crash.
Carefully remove the plunged-in knife.
Take control of your internal life.

No one else can.

Dig out the buried artifact
What was your heart, not just an act.
Discover the soul of who you are.
Soon you’ll erase that fading scar.

I believe in you.

Sympathy, But No Admiration

I skimmed an article the other day about a woman with 5 children. It started with her morning routine and I couldn’t make it past bed-making. It looked like an attempt for recognition for her task-filled day as a working mother.

She began with, “After making 5 beds…” She has 5 children and not one of them can make a bed?

I would teach the child to make their own bed. And if they can’t? Unmade beds are the least of your problems.

I would admire you more if you taught your children how to care for themselves rather than ask for attention in doing for your kids. Or you taught them a lesson and one to yourself about leaving and accepting the unmade beds.

“Want a made bed?” I would ask my child. “Let me show you how.”

Yes, sometimes I make my child’s bed. But she’s one child and I’m happy to do it. She works hard at school, makes straight As, and doesn’t always have time. And if it doesn’t get done? That’s ok.

She knows how to make one and can do it if I ask her. One can also just shut the door.

One day your kids will care about the way their room looks and until then, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s no pizza or soda actively attracting ants under the bed, right??

Joy is found in the wrinkled, wrestled sheets of bedtime tickles and snuggly stories of the day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have 5 kids, you should know this.

At the end of your life, do you want to say, “All the beds were made, every day”?

Or do you want your kids to know, “Mom loved me.”


Zen-like enlightenment or peace does not originate from a made bed. If anything, it is the opposite. The acceptance of impermanence. It’s strange that some humans endeavor in a lifelong attempt at domesticating Earth and they made an entire website devoted to it (looking at you, Pinterest). Peace comes at the realization of bed-making futility. The temporal tool of Bed should be put into perspective. It’s for sleeping, not decorating. It can be enjoyed, not fussed over.

It’s also home to several million bed mites. I’m sure they like it neat. The bed mites appreciate your hard work, Mom. LOL


When we wake up, we should greet the day with awe at the rising sun. Not worry about the messy sheets. It’s a process. I get it. I’m talking to myself as much as anyone.

Who makes their kid’s bed? Just curious.

So Fracking Philosophical at 8 AM EST–Sorry

Christian or not, until we submit to the Power that created us, Universe or God (as long as we struggle against the nature of things?) we will only know strife and pain. If we submit to the higher power of God/Nature, we will become one with the everlasting.

Experience true peace and happiness.

To try and control that which we do not understand will bring inconsolable sadness and eternal, unquenchable desire.

It is futile to rail against the inevitable in pursuit of the inconsequential.

To misinterpret is human. To understand is divine.

We must embrace the overwhelming power of Creator and become Creature. It’s the difference between Heaven and Hell. And the difference between Languidness and Transcendence.

Go With the Flow

My dad was dying. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was would be gone within two months. He had end-stage lung cancer and could no longer drive. So I had to cart him around. Which he hated. So did I.

He’d lost all autonomy and that was hard for him. A fiercely independent, strongly opinionated man. He couldn’t even decide to go home from the hospital at his leisure. He wanted to die in his own bed. He finally got his wish.

One day, we were taking the interstate home and I was dutifully going the speed limit. I was afraid if I went over the limit, Dad would say something. Criticize me. He did anyway.

“You need to speed up. Move with the traffic.”

At the time, I was extremely annoyed, but all I could mumble was, “Sorry.” And I put the pedal to the floor.

There, Old Man.

“Why do you have to find fault with me in everything I do?” I wondered.

Too fast, too slow. Too lazy. Too everything you think I shouldn’t be. But your sick. So I’ll just keep quiet and take it.

But today, when I remembered his nudge (I still think about and remember these things, ugh), I thought, “Thanks, Dad. Good advice.”

I drive for a living now. All I have is time in the car to think about things, past and present. Too much time, perhaps. It’s like all the thoughts you ever have when you’re working out and in the zone.

I’m a very good driver. I pay attention and know a thing or two about cars, thanks to my father. He was a mechanic by trade. He taught me how to take care of a vehicle, inside and out, and how to drive one.

I know why I was so sensitive at the time. Any opportunity my parents had to correct me was unwelcome and resented. They behaved in ways that grownups shouldn’t: fighting, engaging in unfair behavior, inconsistency, neglect. They were normal parents from the 80s.

Who are you to tell me anything??

And I held them accountable with my teenage indignation. Except, it didn’t help and I was just as wrong. Even if I was totally justified in rebuking their correction, they were still my parents. And they were, on the whole, usually right. Or steering me in the right direction.

I’m 44 now and much more confident about who I am and how well I drive. I’m well-adjusted and have worked through most of my past. I take criticism, for the most part, in stride now (thanks to mandatory art school critiques). 😉

Today I’ll just say, “Thanks, Dad. You were right.”

I miss my dad. I mourn all the years I lost to his mental and physical illness. But I also mourn all the years I lost growing up without him or knowing him as an adult.

He never saw my daughter. I know he would have been proud of the job I did/am doing with her. I wish he could have held her, heard her, helped her. But it was enough that he ever did that with me. I can only remember a handful of times, but it was enough.

I forgive you and I’m sorry, Dad.