No Spirit This Season?
Maybe it's just the grayness of the days that we've had, but for someone who known for her holiday spirit and "Christmas-ness," I'm just not feeling it. Yes my tree is up as are the rest of the decorations. I've done most of the holiday cards. Presents have been bought and wrapped (or at least placed into gift bags). Christmas tunes are playing on my radio. Christmas is only a little over 2 weeks away. But something seems to be missing for me.
There are plenty of reasons why I'm a bit down in the dumps this year:
- My dad is back in the hospital (he was admitted the day before Thanksgiving). Though it looks like he will be out this week, it's been a very trying time.
- Our special music service at church has been postponed/canceled as our director's son is seriously ill.
- A good friend of mine is on hospice care
- A couple of recent financial opportunities that looked very promising turned out not to be.
- Volunteered my services for something I very much wanted to help with and never even got a "thank you but..."
I may write about Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, but I'm having a difficult time finding it this year.
That being said, maybe I'm just not looking in the right places. Or perhaps I'm not seeing the forest for the trees. Last night was a case in point.
I had to leave work early (a stress point) to be on time for an appointment (another stressor; especially at rush hour) which was in a location that I was not familiar with. The location was not well lit or easy to find and in the end, the whole appointment was a waste of time (and gas). So after battling traffic, I was frustrated and now had to battle more traffic to head back home. But before I did that I had to make a stop at Target to return an item.
The line at customer service was quite long (no surprise there) and there were only 2 people working at the desk. I expected to be there for a long time, especially since the man in front of me was there to return a 55" TV. Every time the line moved (which it slowly did); he had to drag the huge box up a few feet. I'd expect him to be in a bad mood; dragging this TV all the way back to the store, but he wasn't. When the woman behind me struck up a conversation with him, he said the TV was great and had a very clear picture; it was just that there was a white line that ran down the middle of the screen so he needed to return/replace it. Turns out this wasn't the first time he'd tried to replace it. He'd tried to return it to the Target where he'd purchased it, but they didn't have a replacement for him. So he'd dragged it back home; called around and eventually found that this Target had one in stock. He had every reason to be grouchy, but he wasn't. He said it was the holiday season and sometimes these things just happen.
Made me think that maybe I needed to rethink my attitude. Sure I'd gone miles out of my way and the appointment that I'd gone to was for nil, but at least I was only there for a few minutes (I didn't have to wait for a half an hour) and I was right by Target so I didn't need to make another trip to do my return. And, to my surprise, the wait at the customer service line, really wasn't all that long. I was heading home earlier that I had anticipated and that meant more time with my family.
I had one more stop before I could go home. Turned on the holiday tunes station and started to feel a little better. Even laughed when I heard Straight No Chaser's "Text Me Merry Christmas." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmhfdQlOiy0) Definitely worth a listen, especially when you're feeling down.
Final stop was to my local Walgreens to pick up some photos. (Ran out of photos when doing my holiday cards...I always order too few or too many.) No waiting, but I didn't have exact change for my purchase; I was ten cents short. Annoyed that I would have to break a big bill for a purchase under $10, I was surprised when a manager walked by and plunked down ten cents. (He overheard me apologize to the cashier that I was short ten cents). A simple gesture, but a meaningful one to me.
Isn't that what the holidays SHOULD be about, simple, but meaningful gestures? Maybe I need to stop the next time I'm turning into a Grumpy Gus and remember that. Maybe I need to make a few simple, but meaningful gestures myself. I am constantly pointing out to my son that Christmas is NOT about getting presents, but giving. Maybe it's time I reminded myself of that. Certainly there is a lot of negative I COULD focus on, but should I? Maybe if I change my attitude, then I will feel the spirit of the holidays.
So next time when I'm feeling stressed and/or (and you know there will be a next time), maybe I need to pause. Maybe I need to remind myself that it's about giving and not grumping and grouching. And maybe then, I will not only feel, but encompass, the holiday spirit.