Every year as the Holidays approach I think back on the Christmases of past years. I imagine other people do the same. This can invoke feelings of joy or sorrow. I chose to focus on the positive ones because that is what I want to remember about this Christmas in future years. I know I can make this holiday what I want depending on what I chose to focus on and the attitude I take towards people, situations and events.
In some of the past years I didn’t know I had the ability to make this Christmas the one I wanted to remember with joy next Christmas. I succumbed to the melancholy of the first negative thought that came to my mind and spent much of the season ruminating on my sorrows.
It is sad to remember my loved ones who are no longer with me. I have had a lot of loss in my life. I lost my father at 4 ½ and my mother was not able to cope with two little girls so we grew up with our grandparents. I lost my Grandpaw the summer of the sixth grade and my Grandmaw on my 16th birthday. Life growing up was not easy. I do however remember good times during those years in spite of the heartache in my life then.
One of the best Christmas I remember was also at one of the lowest parts of my life. It was after Grandpaw died on November 22nd and Grandmaw was so sad she was not getting out of bed as the Christmas Season approached. My sister, Rhonda, and I found an old silver Christmas tree in our grandparents’ attic. We also found a color wheel that reflected different colors from the aluminumtree. We stayed up all night making ornaments out of construction paper and we made Grandmaw a Christmas card. We set out a glass of milk and cookies.
The next morning we got Grandmaw out of bed. When she saw what we had done she cried and hugged us. She never spent another day in bed. Today I know that the giving of an act of love is so much more rewarding than the best store bought gift. Don’t get me wrong, I do love presents, but unless it has love attached from the giver it does not mean much.
It is such a contrast to remember a time in my life where there were so many presents under the tree that is was obscene. There was arguing, chaos and anxiety so thick you could cut it with a knife. No one took the time to even acknowledge the gift they opened but hurried on to the next gift. There was a pile of wrapping paper and a pile of gifts left on the floor as everyone scurried off. It seemed so meaningless and sad to me.
I want to acknowledge that I have regrets of how I was during earlier Christmases. One of my regrets I remember in Christmas past was the need to make sure everything went so smoothly that I couldn’t find one positive moment. I now realize that if I am trying to make sure everything is perfect I have to be vigilant of anything going wrong. It is like trying to not think of a yellow banana and now that is all I think about. Even not wanting bad things to happen makes me think of the bad things. These thoughts grow in my head so much that sometimes I actually think that is what creates exactly what I did not want.
I know today that trying to make everything go a certain way is exhausting, controlling and not living in the flow of now. If I am always thinking of taking the next step in my plan, I miss the now. I believe now is the only place I can find true peace, joy and love. If I am not present now I miss what is happening all around me. I am forfeiting now for the thoughts in my head that can be relived over and over again, so much that I am letting my life pass me by.
I have learned to live in the flow of ever day existence. This is one of the greatest gifts I have given to my Self. I look at life as an adventure and wonder what will happen today. I could worry about what will happen or I can be excited to see what God has panned for me today. When I live life like this it is exciting and I do not miss the little miracles that are happening around me all day long. I wish you a miraculous Christmas this year. I hope you make your memories of this Christmas rich for future contemplation.