One of the best things about the holiday season is reconnecting with dear friends. Yesterday I had lunch with a woman who has been a mentor, confidant, and fabulous friend for the past twelve years. We always meet at the same restaurant every December to chat, to chew, and to exchange gifts. A lovely tradition indeed. The restaurant is located within one of the larger malls in Denver. So, every year as I make my way to the restaurant, I enjoy seeing the Christmas decorations and witnessing the activities in the area devoted to Santa. This year was no exception.
Perched at the railing of the second floor, I gazed down at the magical domain of the rotund, jolly, effervescent spirit of the Christmas season. What a glorious sight! Everything twinkled, sparkled, and/or glowed. A setting worthy of the Master of Ceremonies—Santa! There were children of all ages dashing about with parents or grandparents in hot pursuit. Laughter, squeals of delight, and giggles were audible despite the blaring Christmas music.
However, not everyone was enamored with the jovial guy in the red suit. I guess there is always one in the crowd, right? I heard—before seeing— a child who desperately wanted to escape the clutches of Santa. The child’s mother had gently placed her on Santa’s lap in the hope of getting the perfect Christmas photo that would document the momentous occasion for posterity. But alas, it was not to be! The moment her mother stepped back to snap the picture, the young lady let out an ear-piercing scream accompanied by tears, flailing arms, and flying feet. No amount of cajoling, coercion, or enticement assuaged the little one’s fears. The unknown, bearded stranger frightened her. She wanted to flee the scene. And so the mother acquiesced.
As I witnessed the departure of the mother and her sobbing child, I lamented the missed opportunity for all involved. It could have been such a special moment if the child could have managed her fear of the unknown. But isn’t that true for all of us—regardless of age? As adults, don’t we allow our fears to restrict and inhibit our interactions with “the unknown?” Unknown people. Unknown places. Unknown ideas. Unknown experiences. In that moment, I realized the blessing of the scene I had witnessed—the lesson to be learned. Fear NOT! If we are to receive the gifts that Life has to offer, we must be courageously receptive. Open mind. Open heart. Open arms.
So, in the New Year, the invitation is to be open to Life—the known and the unknown, the expected and the unexpected. There is nothing to be gained by kicking and screaming when the path unfolds in mysterious ways. But, as demonstrated by the young girl in the mall, there is a tremendous amount to be lost. Fear NOT, and by so doing, savor the gifts of Life. Tis the season!
I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane
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