I don't really have anything profound to write about tonight, but felt like writing something. So here we go...
I used to love Christmas. I loved finding perfect gifts for those I love (and trying to not go bankrupt in the process). I would do a little decorating and sitting at night with just the colored tree lights would bring a sense of awe and calm. I loved wrapping gifts while favorite Christmas tunes played. It all added to my proverbial Christmas spirit. Lately it's been harder to find that. The family gift giving has become routine - get small lists from family and proceed to get exactly what is on the list with maybe just one small surprise element. It's not a totally bad setup, I do get the shopping done much quicker, but it takes some of the joy and surprise out of it for me. And without my sister home, Christmas is a bit boring. But still, I put up the tree this year and did the shopping (most of it anyway). Tonight I plugged in the tree, had a holiday concert on the TV while I cooked dinner and somehow that spirit found it's way in. Boy am I glad because I really would hate to miss Christmas.
I got to meet my dad's new girlfriend this morning. (How come we don't have a word like womanfriend? It just sounds so much more adultish.) She was very nice and interested in the trip to Ghana. Usually, my dad and I are there about an hour. The first 15-20 minutes we eat and then we chat for a bit. This morning we were there an hour and a half and I still only managed to eat half my breakfast because I was talking so much.
At one point I was rambling on about how I try to be careful with my money, especially in light of what I have experienced overseas. I said, "Do I really need to spend $70 on a pair of jeans or will a pair from the Salvation Army do just fine?" She akwardly chuckled and said, "I think I would have a different answer than you about that... I justify my spending by telling myself I am helping people have a job." To which I responded, "I am helping the people at the Salvation Army keep their jobs too." This brief exchange challenged me a little. For a brief moment, I judged her and her $70 plus jeans and red leather jacket without knowing anything else. She may have other ways in which she strives to make her difference in the world. Perhaps others may look at me and make similar judgements based solely on what they see and their perspective.
It was a good reminder to be a little more mindful that we all are in different places with different perspectives and I'm simply to love them.
Choosing to see (some more):
This past week I have been doing some pretty intense self-examination. Whenever you hold God's mirror up, it can be a little hard to open your eyes and look. It's easier to convince myself to not look because I might not like what I see and changing might not be what I really want. What do we choose when what our hearts want isn't what God wants for our hearts? Obviously the right answer should be to choose God, but what about if we don't, or didn't? Getting back on God's path is always available, but we might have to hobble along with a limp for a bit until we heal. The narrow way is very narrow at times and squeezing through the really tight spots tends to scrape off a bit more of the world. The good news is that when we open our eyes and look, even if we aren't perfect yet, He is always looking back with eyes of love.
Once Upon a Time:
I love this show. I never watched Lost (maybe 1 episode) but I am hooked on this. Unlike Lost in which there were no boundaries for what could or couldn't happen, whether it was real or imagined, the writers here are bound by the fairytales themselves and yet have creatively reimagined some of the story details as to create a compelling retelling. With the characters trapped in the real world, there are hidden clues and hints in each episode and much still unknown about who and what and why and when that it's like being told a story and trying to figure out a puzzle at the same time. Exactly my kind of show. I will admit that I often get so caught up in the story I forget to pay attention to the details and often rely on what other people saw to clue me in and then I go back and watch the episode again.
I've discovered more and more over the last couple months just how important quiet alone time is for me. Unfortunately, with my 10 hour a day customer service job and several hours of my evenings spent on the phone or computer I am finding it hard to make that time for myself and not feel bad about it when I do. Today, other than breakfast I had the day to myself and it felt restorative.
Hope that the joy of baby Jesus and the Christmas spirit abounds in your heart this December and into the new year.