Ah, the season of hope...
That was how I started this entry, about an hour ago. And then I wrote paragraph after paragraph of snarky, possibly clever observations about some of the stuff going on in the world.
And it was all crap.
Useless. If anyone wants to hear the day's events sent up in style, Tivo "The Daily Show." I do.
No, it's December 14th, full on smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Season. If the world may be a ridiculous scroll of bad news, one end dropped and spinning wildy away, bouncing off the rocks and into the abyss beyond; if I sat, in the middle of December, on a bench outside a coffee shop in a thin t-shirt while people in shorts jogged by; if I go to house after house without a tree or menorah because this year was the year so many people finally got so busy so late in the year they just...couldn't...be bothered...that will not change the fact. It is the holiday season. The Holiday Season!
And I am going to forget all that.
And that is the gift I want to give to you. Not exactly give, as I can't guarantee I'll be able to pull it off myself and of course "give" is a word like "pregnant", a binary-style, all-or-nothing sort of construction. How about we say that it is the gift I want to convince you to give yourself.
I don't usually have to worry about it. I can't remember a year when a First Snow or a News Story about one human being helping another against a backdrop of the Season didn't soften up the old armor by now. Just enough to start letting things like gingerbread men racked in bakeries and the gorgeously haphazard holiday decorations of family-run businesses push through and warm me up.
This year, I am getting no cooperation from either the news or the weather.
This year, that kick start looks like it just may not happen. May not push aside all the stuff of life and war and money and age and work.
So I am going to forget those things.
Not all the time. I barely have the mental will of a teenager, much less a monk, but the plan is this: occasionally I will stop, reach down deep and muster up...nothing. A clean slate. And then I will look up at a window with a tree in it. A lit tree. A tree lit with the big, colored bulbs that are, in case you haven't heard, the only official bulbs of Christmas. ( I will not be moved on this.) And I will let that image wash over me, that promise of the world just behind the barely fogged glass. A world overseen by the Christmas Tree. A world of tranquility, of Family, the love they have for each other, the smiles they give each other; a world that smells of pine and cloves and firewood and baking things.
And I'll have no idea what really goes on behind the glass in that house...maybe they're allergic to cloves...but I'll wish them the best of all that, and I hope I remember to thank them for what they gave me.
Because once you have that feeling pouring out of you, you don't need so much armor, and the steps get lighter, even if they don't lead through picture perfect postcard snow.