It's Christmas night here...people around the world have enjoyed togetherness, presents, meals and I pray, lots of "love & laughter" over the past few hours. After the wrappings have been cleared a bit, and the leftovers dealt with, and friends have shared hugs, one settles down cozily to dream of the future year and its possibilities.
Looking forward, I have a second grandchild on the way in June, and a brand new building for our high school to move into, and lots of family & friends to keep track of...but my mind always returns to those who may not have...
On Christmas Eve, I slowly browsed amongst the hurried crowds who were driving too fast, scurrying to the stores and looking for that last item to complete their list. I noticed that some were standing in a checkout line of twenty people to get that important something. Others were having fender-benders and talking to police officers.
I kept thinking about my July trip to Honduras during all of this, and especially about those children we served at the orphanage. I wondered what was on their Christmas list? I thought about scenes from our travels, like the man moving a herd of cows across the road to feed, or the mother cooking corn on the roadside with a make-shift grill so she could make some money. I thought about the two little boys who were carrying the family's water supply to their humble dwelling. What would be on their Christmas list?
But on Christmas Eve, I walked out of a popular over-priced store that I once loved to window-shop in. I would usually look over ~and lust after~ the color and textures and richness and tell myself that someday I would be able to purchase those luxurious trinkets. But this year, I walked out after a few moments, my mind filled with those children's faces...
Yes, my perspective has certainly changed.
About assigning value to what is around us.
About allowing someone in an advertisement to dictate what should be important to me.
Why should they be able to tell me what to wear?
What to drive?
What my home should look like?
What to need?
Just because they want my hard-earned money.
Who has the right to do that?
I detest the thought of a stranger telling me what to do, so I will not allow an ad agency to tell me what to wear, drive, live in, or anything else.
I will no longer play the game.
I decide what will be of value to me in this short life:
my relationships ...with the Holy Trinity, with people near & far, and as a far second, with this planet...
And what about objects? They serve one purpose or another. But I get to decide which purposes I value, too.
My money? I work hard to earn it. I will decide how to use it for good.
Because money & objects should serve me. Not the other way around. Ever.
You may remind me that I'm an artist, and I create objects all the time. True.
But if my house was on fire, I would not be running to save my paintings. You see, I don't worship art. I love it. It makes me extremely happy. But I don't worship it.
I would regret their loss, but I can always paint better paintings in the future.
Life is short, so I've learned to value the parts of life that can't be replaced. Like laughing with orphaned children who are communicating with me through art-making. Like the feel of my husband's hand holding mine. Like having my one-year-old grandson walk into my arms for the first time last week. Like reading the sweet comment of a blog-reader whom I've never met. Like so many people who have crossed my path and left a footprint on my heart. Because that's where the actual celebration of Christ's birth really takes place...the heart.
So my Christmas wish for you is that...
In 2010, may your heart be filled with
Love & Laughter,
1 day ago