Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tree of Blessings

Sometimes I get a blessing from the most unexpected conversation, or at a most unconventional time.

We bought a new Christmas tree. I’ve decorated a teensy 4-ft. tall prelit tree for several years, but this year it just wouldn’t light up, and the needles fell off if you looked at it hard. So David & I went to town to get a new tree. After shopping around, we chose one that would fit in his house, since I’ll be moving there soon. The one we selected is 9 feet tall and slim – just right for the living room.

So I hauled out a boxful of decorations that I’ve collected over the past 5 years or so. Some are gifts I’ve received from former students – like a set of six sparkly red apples. There are the dozen or so sand dollars I found when I went to the Bahamas; I coated them with crystal sparkles and strung a blue ribbon on them. Silver & gold balls, a couple of peacocks, a ceramic plumeria flower from our wedding trip to Hawaii, a South Carolina ornament with the palmetto & moon that a friend gave us, an angel from Dave’s mom… We played some Christmas music, laughed and teased as we trimmed the giant tree. Had to use a step ladder to get the topmost branches covered.

Old houses sometimes have secrets, and this one is no exception. Earlier this week, David had gone into the basement to retrieve some things he’d stored there. In a forgotten corner he found an old box left by a former tenant that contained about a half-dozen Christmas ornaments. Two of them were really appropriate for us, in a funny way. One was an ornament with the cartoon “Maxine” on it.

She’s one of my favorite characters, and the caption about hot flashes made me laugh as I placed it on our tree. The other one was a little blond-haired fellow in a Santa suit, dangling from a parachute. David absolutely loved sky-diving when we were in Hawaii – and this little Santa was a goofy little reminder of one of his favorite moments in life. (**Laughing** Sometimes I tease him that he had more fun sky-diving than he did on the “other” part of our honeymoon!)

(Sorta LOOKS like David, dont you think?)

Those two “goofy” ornaments sealed the deal, that this was OUR tree, in OUR home.

I made a big bow out of gold ribbon, and David climbed the ladder to place it atop the tree. Streamers draped down the sides of the tree, the little white lights sparkled. We looked at the finished tree a moment in silence. Then David said, “I think that’s the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever seen!” He had tears in his eyes.

That was my blessing. I knew the reason he felt it was so lovely was because it was OURS.

I am not sure how long it’s been since David had a “real” Christmas tree that took more than 30 seconds to decorate. But this one is another affirmation that he’s on the right track. It reminds me of when we had family pictures made at church a couple of years ago. He proudly displayed ours, saying it was the first time he’d had a “real family picture” to put on the wall. It’s a symbol of permanence, it’s a symbol of stability, it’s a symbol of restoration in his life.

I’ll be honest, the past few weeks have been really hard. Losing my grandmother has been tough. I’ve had some added grief and unwanted “drama” as well that has burdened my heart. Tears have come often and easily. It’s been hard to try to be in the holiday spirit, I’ve been so inwardly focused on my own issues and hurts. My usually stable world has been wobbling on its axis, big time.

So there I was, wobbling in space…and I heard David say this was the most beautiful tree he’d ever seen. And I realized at that moment, what a blessing I’d just been given. A chance to have fun, to share, to appreciate life, to *be* appreciated for something as simple as hanging an ornament on a tree. I grabbed hold of that moment and savored it, packing it away in my mind as a reminder that life is truly wonderful, and God IS in control of all things. My wobbling world began to stabilize, once again.

And you know what?
I, too, think it’s the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever seen!

It's OK to say "MERRY CHRISTMAS"!!!!


Anita <><


Anonymous said...

Beautiful writing BBD. The photos made me feel normal. The tree makes me feel special.

Thank you for helping me to be a reformed bad-a**!


Lisa Wade said...

You two have to be the MOSt awesome, In love couple I have known in years.
Thank you for allowing GOD to change Both of your heart and lives from the inside out.

Basement Stamper said...

Love seeing your blog, I'm going to have to add it to my google reader. Looks like a fantastic blog to me!