Instead, I found an old wooden ladder and re-purposed it. This year we have a "ladder-tree." I guess I just keep reinventing myself. I kind of like that quality.
(Original post date 12/14/15)
I've had a fake tree for years. Can't be bothered with the fuss of a real tree. I always forget to water it. And even during the years that I've diligently nurtured a real tree, it was dead by mid-December. So, fake it is.
This year I wanted a real one. I don't know why; I suppose I simply got tired of putting the tree together and looking at all the space in between the branches.
For years, I dreamed of a tree with silver balls and red and silver bows. Instead, my trees--both fake and real--were decorated with handmade macaroni frames housing an awkward Polaroid Instamatic picture of one of my children, anywhere from Nursery School to fifth grade. Various other hand crafted ornaments, some missing pieces came out each year. When the kids moved out, I still brought the same ornaments to the tree. I think I felt obligated. You know...tradition and all that.
Last year I decided to make my dream come true. Sparkling white lights danced around the glittery silver balls. Red and silver ribbon trailed down from the top where a big bow rested instead of an angel. The tree cried "
Actually, that's not true. Not at all. Oh, my fake tree cried. It wept. In fact, it screamed.
It screamed, "Macy's!"
Yes, my tree was pretty. But sterile. I really didn't like it. Not at all.
What I thought I wanted wasn't at all what I expected.
I thought I'd find joy and satisfaction in something that I saw in stores, in magazines, and in movies.
If I make my tree look like that, I can BE that.
But that wasn't who I was.
What I really wanted was what I had--what I deemed tacky last year in search of something more fitting, more glamorous, more...me.
But it wasn't at all tacky. It was familiar. Meaningful. Personal. Do we put up and decorate a Christmas tree to impress others or to enjoy with our family?
Fast forward to the present. We got the real tree. Put it in the stand. I even bought colored lights, deviating from my strict policy of white lights only.
I dragged all the decorations up from the basement, and there in one box were all the silver balls, white lights and fancy silver and red ribbons/bows. I reached in to take hold of the ribbon, and my hand stopped.
What was I doing? I hated this last year.
I found myself waxing nostalgic. I looked at my little boy with the missing front teeth in the glittery foam frame.
That little boy is now a man (with very nice teeth, I might add).
I took out the heart-shaped hand made wood frame with an impromptu picture of my little girl with a disheveled look taken at playgroup.
That disheveled little girl is now a woman who would never go out of the house with hair like that!
Silver balls can't compare to that.
Suddenly, I was excited to use the "old" decorations--but only because I now wanted to, not because I felt any sort of obligation. I picked through the years of ornaments and chose the ones I wanted to decorate with. Some reminded me of the folks who gave them to me. Some were pretty. Some--pretty goofy. My eclectic tree was real in more ways than one.
It was me.
I had returned to what mattered most. What was important. Who I really am. I'm not a polished silver ball and red bow kind of tree/woman. I'm an eclectic mish-mosh with no particular theme kind of tree/woman. A little homey, a little tacky, a little crafty with a silver ball thrown in here and there...but mostly, a lot of love, loyalty, and devotion.
So often we aspire to be someone who looks good on someone else, or have something that looks good in the store. We take it home, we put it on, we show it off...yet, it doesn't fit right, doesn't look right, and doesn't feel right.
Like a fake tree with sterile ornaments.
We realize that it wasn't at all what we expected. And maybe we really didn't want it all that much.
The things that we once held so dear often become the very things we long to escape, only to beckon us back with a stronger bond.
Is there something you've tried to change or escape from, only to discover that when you got what you wanted, it wasn't at all what you expected it to be? It's never to late to return to that which beckons you home again.
Return to who you are this Christmas.
Because there's no place like home.
Blessings Along the Path,
sharing this post with some of these lovelies