Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Once In a Blue Moon

Red berries--I have no idea what kind they are, but let's pretend
they're not poisonous. Just wouldn't seem right.
I'm not known for my patience this time of year. Yes, I show my best side to strangers, open doors, smile (sincerely), wish them a merry Christmas, and deposit money into the Salvation Army kettles regularly. I attend church and ponder the true meaning of this holiday. As with many others, I'm sure, I love the meaning behind Christmas, but I can't say I feel the same way about how we (Americans, in particular) prepare for it. We live in a society  obsessed with excess and it begins to rear its ugly face around September. The second half of our calendar year is comprised of the Fourth of July, back to school, and Christmas. And sales. Lots and lots of sales.

To be honest, I'm known more for my stress level which is higher than the price of gas around Labor Day. Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't blown a gasket. But in my defense and putting aside the frustrations of cleaning, shopping, wrapping, baking, roasting (and cleaning again), I think there's another valid reason I'm stressed.

I don't write. In fact, this blog post is the first thing I've written in two weeks. My creativity is bottled up, unable to flow freely, and it comes out in ways that sometimes surprise even me. And I'm not proud of my reactions to the additional duties, activities, and preparations for gatherings, so I suppress them which creates the very thing I'm trying to bury.

I know I'll get back to my writing at the beginning of the year. I'll start with a fresh slate and finally release all those pent-up ideas. Perhaps that's the up side of suppression--letting go feels so darned good. In the meantime, though, I've tried to slow down once in a while and take in the decorations that abound this time of year. I'm not talking about the light displays adorning many homes and businesses. They're beautiful in their own way and I appreciate all the hard work folks go to so complete strangers can enjoy the sight.

What I really focus on, though, are the decorations that surround us in nature. The berries above, for example--simple, a bit spotted, and non-electrical, yet they're every bit as beautiful as the display at Opryland Hotel. (No offense meant, Nashville. I plan to visit the hotel myself next week.) Earlier this week as I returned from yet another shopping trip, I noticed the half-moon hanging in the inky-black sky. The quintessential adornment. The stars around it stretched to infinity and winked at me as if to say, "See what we can do without an electric bill at the end of the month?"

It was probably a trick of the night sky, but I thought I saw the moon changing colors for me. I blinked and it happened again. Pale pink, blue, white, a wash of light green. Maybe I imagined it. Perhaps the cold night air played tricks with my vision. I smiled, got into my car, and drove home. I took one last look before I gathered my bags and went into the house. There it was, right where I'd left it fifteen minutes earlier. I gazed at it for a few seconds. Nothing. I smiled and said, "Goodnight, moon. Thank You, Lord."

Just as I turned to go in I saw a pale pink glow that morphed into blue, then green, and back to white again. I can't say for certain, but I thought I heard a reply. "You're welcome."

Merry Christmas to all. May your days be filled with peace, family, food, praise, prayer, and celebration. And if you get a chance, look skyward one of these nights. There are some really great decorations up there.
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