Thursday, December 24, 2009


Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place.
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All others doth deface...

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlmen

Every Christmas I find myself torn, torn between what Christmas means to me and what I think Christmas should mean to me. But when you think of Christmas and the twinkling lights, the non-recyclable gift wrap, the hordes of bargain-hunting last minute shoppers, and the nativity scenes in malls, what can we really conclude it is supposed to mean? The Catholic Church markets Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.... and yet Hallmark tells me it's a time to drink and share gifts with my friends and loved ones. While I was growing up, my family followed the traditions of a Christmas tree and Christmas morning gifts without ever explaining what any of it meant. So I grew up like any other church-going child: completely confused as to what the real meaning of Christmas should be.

I saw a movie a few years ago called "God Grew Tired of Us". The movie itself deserves its own blog but for the purpose of this entry, I'll focus on the part of the movie where the five refugee men from Sudan celebrate their first Christmas in America. They were baffled. What is this tree for? they asked. And what do all the lights mean and why are there so many odd traditions to celebrate the birth of Christ? In Sudan, they celebrated by being with their family and communities, rejoicing in their love for each other and for Christ--a video clip of these small communities with nothing but dishes made of Mealie Meal celebrating with such sincerity and gratitude is so humbling. But in the states, all that meaning gets lost in the marketing, the gifting glory, and the familial drama.

But when you think about it, what "it" all REALLY means--the tree, the stars, the 25th of December--doesn't add up. The so-called "real" reason for Christmas was never real at all; or at least it's as real as the Hallmark reason for Christmas-- marketing. So I've concluded each person has to find their own meaning in Christmas, like most things. Honestly, I still don't know what Christmas means to me. I know what I want it to mean though. And I will spend the next few years trying to re-make my Christmas so it has the meaning that I want-love, family, and generosity. This year was a good start...

For further thoughts on Christmas...
Thanks for your thoughts Kim! May Christmas always mean love, family, friendship, and excellent marketing...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

happy people are silly people

Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Sometimes, you just have to sit back and enjoy the little things in life. For example, I love post-it notes and other ridiculously unnecessary stationary items (i.e. sharpies, especially colored sharpies.) Sometimes I fear being in an administrative position at an office where i might be in charge of the post-it acquisition because... I may just go wild.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who are we really mad at?

We are never so much disposed to quarrel with others as when we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
William Hazlitt

It was maybe a year ago when I came to a realization very similar to this quote... I think I was lying in bed, worried about something, angry about someone. When I looked up at Clint and said, I think I'm critical of other people because of how critical I am of myself. And for things where I'm a rather harsh critic of myself, I can be even harsher on others. I can get mad at someone for not taking on recycling as a personal responsibility. But because of the doomsday philosophy I have regarding recycling, the devil horns can sprout in seconds if I know someone isn't doing their part to save the fragile earth... Maybe they just don't know how important it is or maybe they're just too lazy to save the garbage to recycle later. But because I failed to save the rainforests, this poor person is going to endure the wrath of Marge.

I take disagreements very personally and this, unfortunately, can be a fatal flaw. This is something I (sometimes) work on. I usually realize too late how far my judgment and criticism can go--something most people are guilty of.

Maybe the real problem, deep down, is how we feel about ourselves. What is it that really matters to us? In a recent correspondence I received, I felt as though the sender was suggesting my purpose in life was to support my husband and his dreams and goals. My initial reaction, completely dismissing the intention of the letter and its context, was that this person must think I have no dreams and goals of my own. "Ummm.. what the fuck?" moment, right? But if that's not what the person meant... why did I read it that way?

Maybe the real problem is I’m scared of my ambitions… scared I’ll never succeed or even attempt them. Other people will acknowledge this and say I’m being a good wife, I'm supporting my bread winning husband. When in reality, I’m just a coward and I’ll resent myself and Clint for it. If I become a housewife, and my goals and dreams fade, I would rather have people look at me as a housewife and think Wow, what a shame... she had so much potential for this, this, this… instead she gave it up? ...rather than say, She is doing what she is supposed to do, she is being an Air Force wife and supporting his dreams… I would rather have people be sad I didn’t push myself in a leading role rather than have people praise me for being in a supporting role… After all, I've worked too hard to let my potential go to waste--I want people to acknowledge my potential and intelligence, even if it's painfully wasted. I don't want my ambitions shoved to the wayside because a family happened, even if I acknowledge it as the priority. I want my dreams to be supported too and if I fail at them I would rather have people be disappointed because they knew I could do it rather than have them sigh and say, 'About time you came to your senses"...

Is that so wrong? Am I right to be upset? Or am I projecting...

Projection is tough to identify and even scarier to deal with... make sure inward anger doesn’t get directed outward inadvertently. Correct it if it does, acknowledge the true problem. It will help all your relationships if you can realize what you are truly angry about...