I feel you. It’s truth. I think being so attuned and aware of the shadows always, it’s difficult to embrace Christmess (coined brilliantly by ash), with the sense of complete joy that perhaps it should bring. I mean for me it wasn’t just the move this year and the sense of cramming in the decorating and the shopping and the festivities. In recent years (when?) words like “wonder” and “magic” and “anticipation” have evolved into something more like “rote.” I mean not completely. As ever, it’s a mixed atmosphere of shadows and light. I can now only consume music in small doses. But I will always, always love my tree, lights and ornaments and all. I mentally bat away dark thoughts about Chinese sweatshops and the overconsumption of so much plastic stuff. I eat up the mounting excitement of the little ones, with their wishes and countdown calendars and Santa dreams. During normal, non-moving years I make ornaments and bake. I look forward to candlelit services and traditional Christmas Eve and Day fare. I devour leftovers with gusto.
But threaded through this beloved celebration is a heaviness, a sense of loss (of what?). Perhaps it’s the lack of enthusiasm in the exchanging of family wish lists, as though it is just another chore to tackle and be done with. The factions of family that choose never to visit. The feeling of our core group being scattered all over the east coast due to completely normal progression – marriages, jobs, children – but I still wish we could all come together somehow. Make that effort. And while it’s certainly easier to create a wish list for gift-givers to check off, it does emphasize the fact of our separation, that we’re not to each other’s homes regularly enough (or at all) to know what each other likes and has or could use – and anyway, is deviation from wish lists and our creativity and thoughtfulness even received well? appreciated? Pretty sure that would be a no. So I, too, just buy off the lists.
And while I’d love to mindlessly plow ahead with the shopping and the shipping and wrapping and unwrapping, my wayward thoughts do land on the accumulation and the fleeting fascination with new gadgets and how fast it all (time) goes. And how before we know it we’ll be doing it all over again, with last year’s acquisitions used or trashed or dusty or forgotten or outgrown. I know it’s not like that with everything. Maybe it’s the “outgrown” part that bothers me the most and how time seems to race faster and faster – too fast. Maybe I’m too obsessed as of late with mortality. But isn’t that what it always comes back to, even if it’s painted as such a dark thread in our world?
Although I suppose if it always does come back to mortality, that should ground me right back to the true meaning and essence of what this season is all about.
I don’t know. It’s too big to put into words really. But I do get it.