I’ve been looking at a fair amount of nonsense over the last few days. Between Christmas and politics I’ve had a rough time of it. It’s the special Christmas special season. A Christmas special to end all specials. Or a moldy old chestnut from some video vault with its saccharine message of love and peace which only barely hides the real message. Buy stuff and buy it now. Impress your friends with stuff.

Ugh.

My daughter mentioned to me that she was doing the 26 Acts of Kindness to extend some sort of loveliness out into a world that is dark, both figuratively and literally at this time of year. I’m a bit of a Bah Humbugger each year at Christmas. I try to hide it from my kids but I suspect they are not entirely surprised. Christmases at my childhood home were notoriously fraught with unexamined and unexpressed feelings. I suffer continuously with the “my gifts are underwhelming and wrong” neurosis.

Yesterday, despite this being a low point among low points in my financial history I decided to participate in my own way. I may not make 26. The gestures may not be grand. Still, I hope to make someone’s day and get them to smile

Yesterday I bought coffee and treats for the gentleman behind me and his wife. Admittedly this was a first world sort of gift. No homeless kids will be redeemed for life by buying a coffee for a man and woman with plenty of food. I didn’t look to see who was behind me before I offered. I could tell the man was shocked and suspicious at first. I think his wife thought I was trying to pick up on him. But when he realized it wasn’t a gimmick his face softened for just a minute and he reached over and squeezed my arm just briefly and shyly said thank you and Merry Christmas.

I felt tears come to my eyes. Just like the Grinch I felt my three sizes too small heart crack open a little. The work of the season often shadows and weighs down the joy to be found. It was odd to feel something other than a heavy decision about what chore needed doing next.

Here is my admonition. Love each other. Be kind. 26 simple acts for each of the lives lost at Newtown. Be creative. Enjoy yourself. Shock and surprise people with armored hearts by providing a little bit of heaven on earth.

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