Monday, December 31, 2012

A Million Reasons To Believe

I just returned from a much-needed jaunt away from the city.  In order to relax, renew my spirit, and luxuriate in the warmth of my surroundings, I took a quick ride up I-76 to Kearney, Nebraska.  And while most people don't envision Nebraska as being rejuvenating or warm, being surrounded by laughter, family, and love is exactly how I wanted to end 2012.
Because, wow, this has been a year of ups and downs.   I've never been one to dwell on the downs.  Ever.  But with the devastating and tragic horrors that happened in my own state of Colorado and throughout the US, this holiday season felt different.

Oh, I went about my Christmas tasks and rituals as usual, but my heart often just wasn't in it.  As I decorated my house with sparkles, shopped in fancy malls,  and wrapped presents in beautiful paper and shiny bows, I couldn't help thinking about the many people whose lives were changed forever during this year.  I felt sad . . . and guilty.

I felt that way most of the time leading up to Christmas, right up until . . .

I was packing up presents to send to Nebraska . . . filling boxes and shopping bags to the brim . . . and my eyes saw this

I had been in and out of Macy's lots of times during this holiday shopping season and loaded my car with many of these shopping bags.  

I had walked through Macy's decorated aisles and surely must have seen the beauty around me.

But it wasn't until that moment that my heart felt the message. 

 "a million reasons to Believe."

Who knows why I missed those words--after all, I'm all about reasons to believe!  And who knows why, at that particular moment, those words hit me.  Maybe it was synchronicity (thanks for the word, Joy!) or maybe it was Seth by my side.   All I know is that I felt the fog clear, and my heart got a little lighter.  I could let go of the guilt and embrace my reasons to believe.  Yes, I have tons of them.  I'll share about half a million in this one short video.  Reasons like . . .

rosy cheeks
LOVE . . . 

The years will always be filled with ups and downs--that's what makes life rich.

  But there will always be reasons to believe--millions of them--and that's what makes life amazing!

Happy 2013, everyone!  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seth, a Christmas Angel

I have a Christmas angel.

He visits me every Christmas and makes his presence known by lightly clicking the glass ornaments on my Christmas tree.

I will be going about my business around the house and out of nowhere hear the melodious clink of glass coming from wherever my tree happens to be that year.    It's not constant--just occasional--but most definitely daily, as Seth, my Christmas angel, reminds me that he's with me.

And oh, what a comfort that reminder is!

There is a story behind Seth, dating back to 1982, the year my dad died very unexpectedly. Needless to say, my entire family was devastated--sad beyond words--and very lost without him.  As Christmas approached, we knew it was going to be hard, but we went through the motions of decorating, shopping, wrapping, and planning to spend a quiet Christmas gathered around family and memories.

At that time, my sisters and I watched a soap opera, Texas, every day.  During that Christmas season, one of the characters had died, and everyone on the soap was sad.  The plot mirrored our own sorrow, and perhaps that was why we were riveted to the TV when Texas came on.  During this holiday season, an angel unseen to the characters would ring a bell that was hanging on the Christmas tree.  They named this unseen angel Seth.  With perfect use of dramatic irony, the characters couldn't see (but the audience could) that is was the angel of the deceased character ringing the bell.

My sisters and I took great comfort in that angel on Texas, and we started ringing our own bell on our Christmas tree whenever we walked by it.  We created our own Seth to get us through that first Christmas without Dad, and we believed with all our hearts that somehow, somewhere, our dad was channeling his spirit, his love, and his strength to us through Seth.  Every Christmas after that (and even now), we continued to summon Seth by gently ringing a bell on our Christmas tree.

The wonder of Seth took on a new layer when I moved to Colorado.  I decorated my fancy new Colorado apartment with all my traditional Christmas lights and ornaments, including the glass bells.  When I walked by the tree, I rang each bell with a smile, thinking of my dad and my sisters.

Shortly after the Christmas decorating was complete, I happened to be home during the day.  As I busily wrapped presents, I heard, for the first time, the champagne-toast-clinking sound from my tree.  I paused, listened, and continued on.  Another clink soon followed.  I felt a warm glow envelope me, knowing and believing with my whole heart and soul, as I whispered, "Seth."

For the rest of that Christmas season and every season following, including this one, Seth has been clicking the glass ornaments on my Christmas tree!  Moving from apartment to house, adding new lights and ornaments and even a new Christmas tree, Seth has remained with me all these years.  Sometimes the sound is soft and delicate; other times it is powerful, almost urgent.  Family and friends who visit during the holidays hear him.  Some try to explain the clink away.  "It's the lights," some say.  Or the temperature.  But mostly, we just believe and smile and say "Hi Seth." And we think about Dad and Christmases from the past and family members and friends near and far and the miracle that is Christmas.

Seth, my Christmas angel, my reason to believe-- every Christmas and throughout the year.  

Merry Christmas, everyone.  May you all have your own Seth this season!

(and in typical Seth style, as I add the last words to this post, I am rewarded with a louder-than-usual clink coming from my tree!  Yes, I believe!)