‘Tis the Season I’ve always loved, but since I seem to live my life trying to catch up, it’s a season of madness as well as joy. I’m looking for ways to minimize the former and accentuate the latter. Our holiday season began–as it has more than a few times over the years–with a time to mourn, which is why I’ve been AWOL from the convertible. The deaths of two dear family members within two days of each other rocked our world in so many ways. But one of the amazing things about sadness is the clarity that comes with it. What’s really important, and how can I tune out the noise and tune into what matters right here, right now, in this dizzying season?
First, I resisted the temptation to minimize the decorating. I was so tempted, but the faces of my grandchildren nipped that temptation in the bud. We unpacked all the boxes and turned the “common rooms” into an uncommon fairy land, much the way Susie described the house she grew up in. It’s a project that takes some time, so I tried to stick with cheerful music in the background. But the season just past–election season–turned me into a serious news junkie, and while cold turkey wasn’t an option (the world will surely end if I don’t keep track of what’s happening) I’m finding that by tuning in and out, I can take heart in the nobility of the human spirit–the people who do things simply because they want to make the world a better place. Two to share, but more are there.
I happened on the broadcast of CNN heroes during a channel flipping. All 10 “ordinary” people were inspiring, but Anne Mahlum particularly impressed me. She started running in her hometown (and one of mine) of Bismarck. She moved to Philadelphia, where she regularly ran past the homeless people on the streets. One day she stopped at the door of a homeless shelter, went inside and said, “I want to take some people running.” It was an odd offer, but one man took her up on it. Right then and there, simply by sharing something she loved with someone who needed someone who cared to show him a way, she started a program called “Back On My Feet.” What an idea! I get chills when I think about it, and I wonder what I could do. I doubt that Anne started out with a big plan. I suspect that it started with one act, one day, one person.
I stopped hanging the greens long enough to write down the web addy for Teresa, the Green Bag Lady when I heard her story on some otherwise forgotten broadcast. She’s trying to save the earth one cloth bag at a time. Before the broadcast she was sewing and sending out free cloth shopping bags to anyone who asked. Now she’s “sewed out.” Publicity and the word free brought a flood of requests, but her web site features patterns for the bags, ideas reusable for holiday wrapping (shown at the top), and plenty of good cheer for all of us. Check it out.
One last earth friendly site gleaned from my background “music” offers a way to stop getting catalogs you don’t want and save some trees. All you do is fill out a form and opt in or out.
Have you run into any good news lately? ‘Tis the season to spread the good news.
My gift for our seasonal celebration will be an autographed book from my stash (I’ll give the winner some choices) and a vintage handkerchief from my collection. (I’m a collection junkie, too!) We’ll choose a winner from those who comment between December 12 and midnight on the 13th.