Bowling For Santa

Christmas has been a little strange for me, this year. I don’t know, the thought of all that work just sucks the joy right out of me. Most years I spend the greater part of November and December going through boxes, shopping with money that I don’t have, fighting strings of lights and wads of ornament hooks, pretty much by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I usually end up with too much staging and not enough merry.

It’s probably got something to do with my kids growing up that has squelched the customary fervor. I’m not grinchy, on the contrary,  I’ve really enjoyed the season much more without all the frantic decorating and shopping. I haven’t even put up the tree and, strangely, nobody has noticed. I told my family that they were welcome to do the do this year and I’d be happy to help, but there were no takers. I don’t mind and, apparently, neither do they. It is giving me a tremendous sense of joy and relief to know that I don’t have to face that titanic clean up at the first of the new year. It’s very liberating.

I like to talk about the big show that we put on in church every week, but what about the one we host every day? We put on our costumes and rehearse our parts. We arrange the lights and work on our timing. Line, please! Looking and acting a certain way in order to please the public is utterly exhausting. It’s no wonder that there are so many of us suffering sickness and depression. Pulling off that production every day is too much and the stress of it is overwhelming. Please and thank you is nice enough and being considerate of others is nice, too. But where did we cross the line and take on all of these bit parts? I’m this way at work and I’m that way at school and I’m something else at the doctor’s office. Where does it end? Who am I?

At the bottom of it all is my fear of rejection. If I don’t put a spit shined version of myself out there, if I don’t conform to the will of the masses, I’m sure to be judged harshly as I deserve to be. If I don’t follow the crowd, if I don’t do what I’m told just because it’s the way we’ve always done it, if I don’t dance to the beat there’s going to be a problem. There’s going to be a disaster, someone’s going to get hurt. God forbid that I think or behave outside of the social consensus. There will definitely be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Rubbish.

Don’t you know? Everybody’s way too into their own show to notice any kind of a hitch in mine. It’s true.

This holiday season I spent more time actually watching Christmas movies with my family, visiting with people that I absolutely love, I even learned to knit. Who knows, I might get to read Dickens before it’s all over with. I haven’t had a real worry or care. Sometimes I feel one trying to crawl up my sleeve, but I just shake it off and have another glass of eggnog.

This Christmas I didn’t want to pull out all of those decorations and guess what? Nobody really cared. Just like the Who’s in Whoville, it didn’t stop Christmas from coming, it came. Somehow or other it came just the same.

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