- Creative spots to hide that goddamn Elf on a Shelf everyone seems to own but me.
- Holiday stress.
- Anything having to do with religion.
- The overblown retail/material aspects of Christmas.
After eliminating these potential topics and more from the list of things I thought might be interesting for you to read about I was feeling pretty fresh out of ideas. Then, just when I was feeling like there was nothing I could write that was worthwhile about this time of year I read a quote that changed my mind. I should have known that when I'm looking for inspiration, for a fresh and enlightened perspective on just about anything there is only one place I should turn. The well of truth and inspiration that never runs dry.
Sandra Bullock. You have your spiritual guru and I'll have mine. Sandy is one deep lady.
*Total side note, but WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THINGS HOLY did Jesse James treat her so wrong? I wonder if he wakes up every morning with a scorching hangover, looks in the mirror while he's putting Bag Balm in his hair and thinks to himself "I was married to Sandra Bullock and I friggin' blew it." Probably not. He's probably fine with it, but seriously, how lucky was he?*
Getting back to Sandy. Due to her extreme awesomeness she was recently named '2013 Entertainer of the Year' by Entertainment Weekly. She posed beautifully for the cover and gave an interview in which she was quoted as saying:
"When people are like 'Life is so good, "I go, 'No, life is a series of disastrous moments, painful moments, unexpected moments, and things that will break your heart. And in between those moments, that's when you savor, savor, savor.'"
How can you not love this woman?
Shortly after reading this little gem I was commuting and listening to NPR. They were interviewing the editor of Garden&Gun Magazine. Why have I never heard of this magazine until now? I looked it up and am now an official subscriber. Any mag that has an article devoted to "Holiday Punch For Whiskey Lovers" is okay by me.
So this editor was talking about holiday parties and whiskey punch and celebrating and somewhere in the interview she said something along the lines of this: "A holiday party should be the antidote for the rest of the year. It should be a time to string the garland, put some mistletoe in your hair, be festive and celebrate."
The word "antidote" caught my attention. What a great way to describe the indescribable. That feeling the holidays bring that somehow seems like all the little broken pieces of the year are being super glued back together inside of us. When you think about it, how can a season built entirely on the idea of giving and salvation not have that affect?
One of the benefits of living in a teeny-tiny country town is that special teeny town things always happen. Late last December, on a Sunday afternoon, a group of 40 or so carolers arrived unexpectedly at my front door. My daughter and I were the only two people home so we opened the door and listened. As she stood there frozen, not yet two years old but so amazed by what was happening that she didn't literally didn't move a muscle I started to cry (just a little, nothing serious). I was so touched by the effort these folks made to be neighborly by going door to door spreading holiday cheer. I was so grateful to be sharing that special moment with my daughter. As Sandra said, I was "savoring". I was soaking in that one precious pause in between the holiday craziness to just be still and grateful.
These little pauses, these opportunities to savor are everywhere this time of year - the antidotes are all around us. Like when you stop to put your money in the Salvation Army bell-ringers kettle as you walk into the grocery store. When you raise a glass of whiskey punch with friends and toast to a fabulous 2014 ahead. When your kids write their letters to Santa. When you visit with someone you haven't seen in years, or visit someone in the hospital. When "Silent Night" makes you cry. When you give.
My holiday wish for all of us is just that. I hope this season you are able to savor as much as possible. I hope the antidote this season of celebration and giving provides is strong enough to heal whatever is broken inside of us. I hope we are able to give enough that maybe we can heal a little bit of what is broken inside someone else. So keep your peepers wide open for those opportunities to savor...and have a glass (or three) of whiskey punch while you're at it.
And in the end we were all just humans
drunk on the idea
that love, only love
could heal our brokenness.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
(Thanks to Kristin Burgess for refreshing my memory on this one.)