The world that I've been experiencing, via the radio and social media, has been full of sorrow. So much death. So much hate. So much arguing. So many accusations. So many horrifying images and unnecessary arguments and intentional provocations.
The weather has been dreary, It gets dark earlier and the clouds take away the glimmer of the stars and the moon and so it seems even darker than it should.
On top of that I am still recovering from the Guillan Barre. I feel tired and achy and weak. And it can be depressing and overwhelming.
I needed more more hope. I needed more light.
Tonight, we put up our tree. And the whole process struck me in a way it never has before.
First, when we got it out and put it up it looked horrible.
It was all scrunchy. There were big gaps and spaces everywhere. It was ugly and awkward and I could not for the life of me remember why I even still had the tree much less how I could ever have liked it.
But I remembered it was the same tree I had enjoyed the look of the last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Which meant at some point there was something about the tree that made me want to keep it. And that's when I remembered the reason I like the tree has very little to do with the tree itself. It has more to do with what I do to it. It's what I add.
So I turned on the lights. And I started to separate out the individual branches, unfurling their scrunchiness and filling in the gaps to make it look fuller. Then I added some extra sprays of glittery flowers and berries and put the star and a bow on the top.
Now it was softer and brighter. It was better.
The next step involved adding some sparkly metallic and glitter encrusted ornaments to reflect the light that was already there. I strategically placed them on the inside of the tree where there were a lot of open spaces so each one could catch more light and bounce it outward and around the tree.
It felt like the amount of light doubled. There was a soft, warm glow emanating from the tree since it was lit now from the inside out.
It was finally time for the last thing; adding our special ornaments.
And they are special. We have so many, and each one is meaningful. I have ornaments that my grandmother gave me. I've received one from her every Christmas for the last 35 years. The first one, a beautiful and handmade little lantern has a place of honor at the top. There are several handmade wooden ornaments from my grandfather. A red, white and blue sequined ball one my grandmother made right after 9/11. And everywhere I travel that is new, I buy an ornament. Everywhere we go together we buy an ornament. And then my parents give my kids a nativity themed ornament every year. We have ornaments that belonged to their dad, and ornaments my piano students gave me. And I love how each one helps me remember something wonderful or someone I love. They evoke feelings of tenderness and fond thoughts for experiences shared.
I stood back after the last ornament was placed on the boughs, and admired the tree. The tree that was lit from all around and held pieces of my life and representations of the things I loved. And it was more than good. It was amazing. And for the first time in a while, the darkness and heaviness inside of me broke and filled instead with glimmers of hope, peace and possibility.
Because the world was not all bad.
And more than what's just given to me, it's what I DO with it. It's what I add. It's who and how I love. Its the memories I create. Its me making choices that reflect light instead of dimming it. I can chose to reflect love, hope and peace. I can create possibility.
What the world really needs is a little more light.