Comfort and Joy
I canceled Christmas this year. Not for you, you can totally have Christmas, there isn’t Christmas at my house. I have a little Charlie Brown tree with a blue blanket as a skirt and a single red ornament thanks to my mom but other than that there is nary a sign of the holiday to be found in my home. This is incredibly unusual for me, I’m generally a tiny elf spreading Christmas cheer like it’s my job. This year, I’m not feeling it. At all.
There are a few reasons for this mood shift; it is unseasonably warm for December, the political climate is stressful, it’s my first year not in an office setting, my budget is not what it used to be, I’m in a huge life transition. It feels like there is more to worry about than to celebrate, and I’m soaking that in. I don’t recommend it.
Last week in my classes I talked about how when we focus on obstacles we see more obstacles, when we focus on possibility we see more possibilities. Saturday I attended a celebration of life, that’s a different post for a different day, and there was a lot of discussion of grief, of sadness; but also, of comfort and peace. Part of the conversation was about growing up in the Catholic Church. I don’t remember the last time I attended a weekly service. Holidays with my mom yes, weddings or funerals sure. But actually going to Mass? Nope. I decided to go the next day. There’s a church near enough to me with a service that gave me enough time to sleep a reasonable amount and finish in time to get coffee before I taught.
I went to Mass. While I struggle with several things in relation to the Church and God, I find an incredible amount of comfort in the ritual of Mass. It’s always the same, in any city, any church. And I like that. I like going to get my almond milk latte before I teach. I like my slanket to be washed every Sunday and to wear it while I snuggle LP. I realized I need to find a little bit more comfort in my life with all of the change happening around me.
After Mass I taught a quiet yin practice, before class I talked to another teacher about how incredibly kind people had been to us over the past week and how happy it made us. After class, I met my #TroubleFriends for brunch at one of our favorite places. We drank, we ate too many apps, we laughed. It made me incredibly happy. I left feeling full of joy and chilaquiles. This time of year I feel so much pressure to say yes to everything and everyone. I go to activities and events when I barely have the energy to stand myself up for them. To what end? To say I did it? That’s silly. I don’t get a prize for doing the most stuff. I decided, within reason, to only do things I feel will make me happy. I don’t have to attend every event, or hangout with someone every time they ask, I do have some obligations I can’t skip out of, but we all have a bigger obligation to take care of ourselves. It’s something I’ve been failing to do for months.
Maybe the Christmas Spirit is throwing lights and garland on every surface and playing Mariah Carey on loop. But maybe, just maybe, it’s finding comfort in tradition, it’s finding small joy in the people and things around you. Maybe it’s giving yourself the gifts of grace, compassion, and care.
Tidings of comfort and joy to you, friends.