I read an article by a published author I was familiar with. For the life of me I can’t remember who it was, where I read it or even the specific details (sorry, childbirth combined with motherhood with a little sleep deprivation thrown in will do that to you.) But I want to share with you the gist of the story. If anyone out there recognizes it (I read it in a November issue of some magazine) please tell me so I can give proper credit – and amend the details since I’m sure to get some things wrong. So, I’m paraphrasing here, and embellishing to fill in what I’ve forgotten but here is basic premise…….
A woman was on a bus ride to some major city out east (New York, Boston – I already told you I don’t remember). She wanted to relax, get work done (it doesn’t matter) but she was being distracted by a sweet, yet mildly annoying little girl. The girl was traveling with her grandmother. They were of modest means. She had pleasant conversation with them. The bus arrived at their destination and they parted ways.
But she realized she left her laptop behind. She went back. She couldn’t find it. The grandmother and granddaughter were still there and helped her look. To no avail. She filed a report and went on her un-merry way. Walking to her next destination she tried to hail a cab – difficult. The cab driver she gets is grumpy. She looks out to the street and it’s filthy. Is sanitation on strike? She sees bums and prostitutes. She wonders why in the world anyone would want to live in this horrid city.
Then she gets a call on her cell. Someone has found her laptop and turned it in. She races back to the bus depot or the home of the finder (I already told you I can’t remember the details – geez!) The grandmother and granddaughter found it. They recognized it when they saw a man holding it, walking away from the bus depot. The grandmother shouted, “Hey! That laptop isn’t yours.” Scared, the man dropped it and ran away. The author, grateful, tries to give her a reward. The grandmother won’t take it.
The author gets back in the cab, jubilant. She strikes up a friendly conversation with the cab driver. She looks out the window and sees how pretty the streets look decorated with Christmas lights. She notices the great variety of stores and is happy to see so many “Mom and Pop” shops still thriving. She sees a sweet family, pushing a stroller down the street. They look so happy to be living is such a wonderful city.
Perspective. We can create it. We can change it. Our moods can be dependant on it. Or we can shift perspective to dictate our mood. But it’s our choice. It truly is. The city hadn’t changed miraculously between losing her laptop and finding her laptop. Her perspective had. If it can shift that rapidly based on circumstance, it can shift just as quickly if we choose.
I used to be annoyed with how early Christmas items and decorations would appear in the stores. I cursed capitalism and greed. But somewhere along my life’s journey I started getting wrapped up (giggle) in the holiday momentum and I didn’t care how early it appeared.
Where I grew up there was a radio station that played a Christmas song every evening at 7:00pm to help keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long. I loved that idea! I no longer put away my Christmas cds (and it is quite the collection) because I listen to them all year round. As soon as the stores start putting up their Christmas decorations I notice a shift in people. I notice more smiles. Instead of good-bye, people say “Have a happy holiday!” Clerks and cashiers strike up conversation with “Are you ready for the holidays?” Invitations may appear in the mail. Friends keep me up to date with new pictures of the kids tucked in Christmas cards.
I’m reading many posts out there talking about how cranky everyone gets this time of year. How greedy stores are. How pushy and mean other shoppers can be. Honestly, I don’t see it. Really. We are now smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush and I haven’t seen one act of evil, one greedy advertisment, one cranky person. I’ve only witnessed cheerfulness and fun. I’m not saying the evil doesn’t exist. I just haven’t seen it. And maybe it’s because I choose not to see it. Frankly, I don’t want to know what the reason is. I just want to enjoy the bliss of not knowing.
I choose to enjoy this time of year. I choose to see the fun and the good. I see people helping each other. Our local soup kitchen always has an overflow of volunteers at this time of year. We have so many people offering help we actually turn people away. I see more smiles. I see joy in my children’s eyes anticipating the surprises ahead. I see the thrill my husband gets when he thinks he’s found the perfect gift for me and he can’t wait for me to open it. Church parking lots are more full with people remembering the reason why we’re celebrating. More people give money at this time of year.
It’s a time of giving. A time of sharing. A time of love. That’s what I choose to see during the holiday season. And the choice is all mine.