[I posted this last year, but I thought I'd bring it back again this December. It's one of those things I wrote a long time ago that I re-read because it reminds me of something important. I need to remember that lesson again this Christmas, so here's the repeat. Please forgive me, if you've already read this. Hopefully, I can post something new before Friday rolls around to make up for it.]
I wrote this six years ago, but I remembered it after decorating the Christmas tree on Sunday. I thought why not share it here:
Each Christmas I spend many an evening with the lights turned off in my living room and nothing but white tree lights on to provide a warm glow. I lay on the floor looking up toward the lights -- usually white lights only, not the multicolored strands. I love their simple beauty.
I like to cross my eyes a little and squint some, so that the lights become little, blurry rings of gold, twinkling ever so slightly. Some of them cast out thin beams of light -- like fine strands of gold -- and it gives the impression of staring into a star-filled sky.
I blink. It becomes clear again...just some lights on a tree, amidst the other ornaments, beads and balls. Then I stand up, step back and take a look at the whole tree. It's really quite pretty, I must admit. The presents momentarily grab my attention. But the moment passes, and I lay back down -- finding my vantage point on the floor. I squint my eyes again. My stars are there once more. Twinkling and giving off their tiny gold rays.
A strange calm comes over me, and I giggle at myself for being so silly about a tree of all things. I realize that I've been doing this since I was a kid -- ignoring the presents and the big picture for a while and focusing on something much smaller. Something some might consider the"background." Without the lights, though, something is missing.
When you look at the sky in the city, sometimes, something is missing. The stars are often invisible because of the "big picture" -- the buildings, the streetlights, the effervescent glow of everyday life. If you travel outside the city, though, the stars start to reappear. Go outside the city limits one night, and you'll see.
And I don't mean the suburbs, mister. Farther...Go on, now. Go to the mountains, the desert, the country. Now stop looking at the big picture, the presents, the ornaments. Lie down. Look at the background. Blur your eyes -- make the stars dance. Start to see the tiny gold threads that weave this whole shebang together.
Don't worry if you blink. It may look like they've changed, but they'll go back. You'll see...I bet, for a moment, that peace will come to you, too -- if you let it.
The lights are the details in life. The little things...the smiles when you need them, the love that's always there whether spoken or not, or the note that hangs on just long enough in a song. They're always there, but sometimes you have to blur the rest to see them. Sometimes they're forgotten altogether.
At this time of year especially, it's so easy to focus on the ornaments and the obvious details. I have to try to remember to look for the non-obvious details...the blurry backgrounds that hold things together. Those are the things that I think are truly special and truly important.