It’s the first few cold days here in Baltimore, so cue the inevitable references to the busy time of the holidays.
It’s less than a month until Thanksgiving, which means it’s less than two months until Christmas, which means it’s about to get primal in the Target over the last (fill in the blank) holiday toy.
I’m not buying it. Literally.
I am done with buying dumb shit for people who don’t need it. I have no interest in scurrying around to fulfill our country’s image of what the holidays are supposed to be.
But more importantly, I am not buying the conceit that the holidays are filled with merciless and driving good cheer, buoyed by copious amount of holiday punch and $5 trinkets from the White Elephant gift exchange.
Truthfully, I dropped the pretense of the picture-perfect holiday years ago, maybe around the time when I was younger and my brother and I told each other what the other was getting for Hanukkah and then it sucked a little, opening our presents, because we both already knew.
It may have taken me a little while to really exorcise the holiday demon because Dane was a huge fan of holidays and had an image in his head about what they should be, complete with overspending and overcommitting to holiday celebrations.
But this is not about that.
As the light fades from the sky and the darkness and cold return, I am starting to pay attention more.
How often do we grant ourselves permission to be deliberate? How often do we actually choose to consider what we are doing instead of simply walking through one big, long, knee-jerk reaction of a life?
What a gift it would be if we really paid attention to the people in our lives – close up and far away.
What if we slowed down enough to hear their hearts beat? To listen to them with both ears and our own open hearts?
I am not talking about sacrificing yourself on the altar of But They’re Your Family or Deep Down, They Really Love You.
I am talking about being deliberate and intentional with your chosen family – blood or otherwise – as a meditation, of sorts.
I am not here to give you suggestions about how to do this with your family.
Today, I am not even here to give you a recipe (although here is a really fucking delicious drink, plus some meditations from Wendell Berry, and here is some delicious food. That shit is so seasonal).
Today’s message is simply this: Slow down. Open up. Wait.
Let me know how it goes.