Hooray! Our Christmas tree is still standing this morning. It's a bit bare in spots, where I took off my favorite ornaments in case it fell during the night.
Upon looking at it, I realized that in some ways, I'm like this tree:
I'm not where I thought I'd end up. The tree certainly never imagined it'd be transported from a forest or tree farm into my family room; I never thought I'd be a bereaved mother, a mom to an infant at age 47, the author of a book, or even in a new neighborhood.
I look normal from the outside. The tree looks perfectly acceptable with its angels, glass balls, heirloom ornaments, and layers of beads, but what is unseen is the trauma/drama it has gone through to get here. I look unremarkable, too, a suburban woman driving a family car on numerous errands, shopping at the grocery store, and waiting in the carpool line. The tree reminds me to be gentle with others, because everyone has a story, even if it doesn't show from the outside.
I am leaning, a little bit bent, but not broken. Sure, like the tree, I've fallen down, but I'm semi-upright now. I am altered by my experiences, just as the tree was changed by the weather, its growing conditions, and our bumbling attempts to help it stand straight. But while I am changed, I am still me. The tree needs hidden supports to keep it from falling. My unseen, yet important anchors are friends who stand by me, prayers that lift me up, and the decision to hunt for gratitude every single day.
I'm a bit messy. The tree drops needles, and has oozed sap on our hardwoods. We put a plastic sheet under it to make sure water didn't leak out. In its "realness" the tree brings issues that an artificial tree wouldn't. I try to be real, too, even though I'm messy: I cry sometimes, I curse, and I write what is real, not necessarily what is tidy.
I can still let my light shine. The beautiful glow this tree gives off in the darkened family room is its own sort of magic. I no longer see the twine holding it up, the room feels 10 degrees warmer, and I experience the wonder of Christmas when I look at it. I, too, can bring light in the darkness to those who need it with a hug, laughter, or even by just be being me.
So can you!
p.s. Oh, and one more similarity: I don't drink enough water, even though it's good for me!