Love checklists? So do I!
If you need ideas to help you start doing spectacularly little--and yet kind--actions that make a difference, this is for you.
This week in December just FREAKS. ME. OUT.
All of the sudden the Christmas everything is happening: the parties, the presents, the paper reindeer from school, the tree trimming, the needing to buy not needed things for all the people, whilst drinking glassfuls of eggnog, wine, peppermint coffee and wassail to try to make all this Christmas soak in from the inside out. But it doesn’t make it feel real; instead is just makes me have to pee.
I know it was December 1st, or maybe Thanksgiving when the everything started, but seriously guys–I would actually have to be on top of things to FATPT (freak at the proper time).
Also, for clarification, when I say “freaking out” I actually do mean detaching emotionally. This is how I would expect I to feel if the zombie apocalypse truly did arrive. Really, it is more of an internal freak-out. Yet, this isn’t like the zombie apocalypse. This is Christmas, not zombies, and Christmas actually happens FOR REALSIES.
You see, they aren’t joking anymore, putting those Christmas candies out in September.
So hide yo’ kids! Hide yo’ wife! Hide yo’ husband, cuz they’re goin’ crazy out here! It is time to get your stockings in a row and make sure the ashes are swept out of your fireplace so Santa doesn’t get his booty sooty. Okay, I guess he can get his butt and feet just a little dirty, as long as you don’t mind gray footprints all over your house. But, as I assume your living room floor will be covered by the leftover Christmas wrapping paper that your baby/dog doesn’t eat, a smattering of ashes won’t matter one bit in those pictures you take (and might never look at again).
I’m Not Alone, Right?
Have I inspired you to feel the meaning of Christmas and to give meaningful gifts? I’m sure I have officially, truly and deeply. (*Sarcasm*)
But I do comfort myself, knowing that I might have just related with you. Thankfully, I am not the only one who is behind, who feels a tad stressed with time’s speed, and who isn’t emotionally and spiritually in the Christmas spirit yet.
Time before Christmas, time after Christmas, time before the next Christmas–time is always running. This week my Grandmita passed away–a very human, very loving, very creative and intelligent woman who helped shape me. The grief hasn’t hit yet, but it has required me to seriously face time’s brevity.
I like to think life is like the tides. When life–or even just the Christmas season–is all said and done, it will be like the push of an ocean wave, splashing faces, the burying little toesies, and the shaking up the shells. Then as the rush of water subsides, it smooths the sand where only a smattering of things peak from the surface: the edge of a sand dollar, a precious shard of abalone, maybe a worn rock of sea-glass, and of course, the feet coated in salt and sand.
These little pieces are like memories that can be pulled up and examined. Maybe it is just a fragment of a shell, a sliver of a story. Or maybe it is a full starfish, which can be relived in depth, looking back.
But one thing we know is that the wave came and went quickly, and its impact was sure and swift. But that doesn’t lessen its value to those that enjoyed that brief swell of the sea.
If anything, this one small Christmas will just be a glimpse in the life of a wave. Maybe after time has passed, we will be lucky to pull up a piece of it to be remembered later. It will just be the important things that remain.
What do you think will remain from this season in your life? Will it be the stress and worry of not getting it all together “perfectly?” Will it be fostering selfishness in your kids’ lives? Will it be the fight you had with your husband?
Or will it be the meaningful gifts you gave? Will it be your focus, grasping your spiritual heritage? Will it be your ability to have joy and gratefulness in the midst of suffering and grief? Might it be the generous spirit of others towards you that catches you off guard? Or maybe your generosity towards others? Will it be dropping or rescheduling everything to foster peace in your own home? Will it be creating traditions that might blur together, but when you look back on them years later, you see they passed essential values to the next generation?
So, enough freaking out, being stoic in the face of the zombie apocalypse of Christmastime. No need to shovel more calories down my gullet in hopes I might “feel Christmas” so I can get buying and wrapping already.
I expect I won’t even remember this specific Christmas when my life tide ebbs low. But maybe, just maybe, if I pull up any sliver of shell that remains from this holiday season, I hope it is something life-giving and world changing, even if it is just in the world of one small person. Like my Grandmita left, I want something beautiful, of value, and meaning to remain in the sand.
~ In honor of Phyllis Steiner, 1928-2014 ~
Ideas for Action:
1.) Choose a new tradition of something good to do with your kids. It can be Operation Christmas Child, intervening on behalf of a trafficking victim, or just buying a present and putting it on a random person’s door. It can be making 20 pans of frozen lasagna to help #LoveMoms with new babies or sick children. Or maybe it is just being intentional about processing the Christmas story. Regardless, choose a new tradition that reflects something bigger than yourself.
2.) Choose something to cut-out. What do you not need to do? That? Yes. So just don’t. You won’t remember it anyway, and they might never even notice it is missing. Trade simplicity for peace. (And let me know what it is to help hold you accountable!)
In case you missed last week’s post–Christmas Expectations: What to Give to The One Who Has it All–I highly suggest buying a water buffalo or a share of welding machines for your dad. He will just love them. The World Help Christmas Catalog has ideal gift options, largely because they multiply the impact of your gift to a loved one by sharing it with others.
The Global Freedom Alliance is another organization I partner with. Someone cool (whose name starts with a “C” and ends in a “Y”) compiled a list of many organizations and businesses that sell items made by human trafficking survivors. You help give ex-slaves real livelihoods when you purchase presents from them, again multiplying your generosity (for a interactive version of this, click here).
If the idea of "purpose" always seemed a little vague to you AND you don't have a lot of time to spare, this is for you!
Purpose Roadmap: Discover A Story Worth Living is a free mini-workbook with seven-destination points to help you intentionally choose what you want to let motivate you in life. This is what I'm hear for, to empower everyday people like you to know where to start in all of life's craziness to begin discovering our best roles (and not burnt-out roles) to change the world. And this is the perfect place to start!