Monday, December 27, 2010
We Are The Light
As I sit here reflecting on the Christmas holiday, I am overcome with joy and sadness. I have always wanted to create community. So wherever I am, I make sure all are introduced and try and find common ground amongst strangers, so they can have a conversation. I am constantly organizing gatherings of friends or the neighbor kids to build relationships. It is my calling. So as my family begins this transition from our neighborhood, to another one, I am sad. We know it is the right time for us to move. We need to find a space we feel good in. A space for all of us, to live, home school, play, relax, work, etc. We have cultivated many friendships on this street. We know we are lucky and that it is rare that neighbors even talk. Many people are so rushed and self centered that they pull right into their garage and never say hi. When we are running around we still greet our neighbors. I feel it is more important than rushing off to our location.
So after five years of the Community Christmas tree, we finally decided to do something new. I have seen my parents street light luminary bags all the way down the street on Christmas Eve. It was always so beautiful. I really wanted to do this and told a few neighbors we would. So I bought white lunch bags, tea light candles and kitty litter. At about 3 p.m. a few families headed out with wagons in tow, to line to luminaries all in a row. The kids took turns pouring kitty litter in the bags and placing a candle in the bag. We lined the street with 160 bags. People were slowing down and asking what we were doing and when we would light them? We invited all to come out and see the magic at 6 p.m. When we at started the lighting, a few neighbors came out to help and in about 10 minutes, all the candles were lit. It was breath taking! Absolutely amazing! There were about 12 families that came out in ahhh. We stood around visiting, sharing hot chocolate and Christmas plans. while admiring the simple gesture of lights. Some neighbors reintroduced themselves and others shared fun memories.
The bags stayed lit for quite awhile. As I hustled around, setting up for Christmas morning, I kept glancing out the window at the lights. I felt so good to see the lights and how happy the people were. The last time I glanced most of the lights were out. It was about 10:30. There was one light right in front of our house. I got chills. I said to my husband, "honey, you know what that means?" He said, "yes, we are the light." I said, "yes we are." Then he said, "you are the light."
As we woke up the next morning and saw the bags lining the street it still had a sense of beauty. We were so busy with the kids and family we didn't have time to pick up the bags. We planned on doing it Sunday morning, but it had rained so, the clean up would require a large garbage being rolled up and down the street, with a shovel. My husband left to run an errand and the bags were still there. When he returned the bags were gone. Some good neighbor had done a good deed and cleaned the street. What a surprise. We were left to wonder who had been the angel. We had to except the love we received by giving the light to others.
When we first looked at this house, a neighbor in her seventies, came out and handed me oranges, because I was pregnant with my first. She was the light on the street. She would wave to all, greet them and come to a fast halt in her car, just to get involved in a conversation. She loved the gatherings we created, especially the community Christmas tree. She would buy all the kids on the street Advent calenders and gave treats to all who stopped buy. She passed away, suddenly 2 years ago, November. All were shocked and completely saddened. That year we bought a giant icicle star, to put on the 15 ft. tree out front. It was for Inge. She was there in spirit. This year I took that star and put it on our inside family tree. It matched my snowflake theme. The star shines so bright. Her house is still in the family and her son dropped by Sunday afternoon with a gift. I opened the card and it said, "The holidays aren't always easy, but with the glow of every candle and the twinkle of every Christmas star, may happy memories warm your heart and light the way to a perfect season and hope filled New Year." He then added, "thank you for bringing so much sunshine to my mothers life!" I opened the package and there was one of her Hummels, a fine collectible figure of a boy and girl, made in Germany. She had quite the collection. My heart melted and I was later brought to tears when I shared it with my husband.
So as the season comes to a close and you are reflecting, ask yourself what can you do to be the light in someone else's life? Imagine if everyone did this? What a kind world we would live in?How joyous and peaceful it would be. Be the light. It doesn't have to be a big gesture, it could just be a smile or a hello. Happy Holidays!