My heart is different this year.
It all started when we watched The Story of Stuff and suddenly the way that I thought about everything was turned on its head. How the little decisions we make every day, every minute, are connected to things larger than ourselves and although that can become incredibly overwhelming, maybe even sometimes paralyzing, it can also be a huge wake-up call to how we live our every day lives.
And then along comes Christmas.
Watching the madness of Black Friday commercials while at my parents' house over the Thanksgiving holiday (cardio training for the mad dash to get items first? really, Target?)...
bringing in the paper that weighed 5 lbs because of all the store circulars stuffed in between the headlines reporting the continued depth of our economic crisis and the desperateness of average folks...
it just became too much.
What are we doing? Why do we choose to engage in this madness, year after year? The more that I pondered those questions, the more that it became poignantly clear:
Peer pressure is alive and rabid, even among grown adults.
And I don't want to feel that way anymore.
I didn't like it back in 1986, when I knew something to be true in my heart and yet I chose a different way so that I wouldn't stick out any more awkwardly than I already did. Acquiescing was certainly easier, but there was also a cost.
There's always a cost.
What do I really want and what am I willing to sacrifice in order to get it? Because if everything has a cost, what can I really afford?
I can't afford what the world wants me to give, that's for sure. There is only so much that can be purchased within an already lean budget. And what the world offers is often fleeting and faddish anyway. Like a one night stand that seems good at the moment but leaves you vulnerable and doesn't call the next day.
I think it's high time I choose to live in a different kind of moment.
And the amazing thing is this:
the choice to go a different way, to invest in family and friends, to infuse my moments with love rather than trinkets costs only
I guess, in reality though, my time is really my everything.
Which is convenient because what I really want to give is
But how exactly do I do that? In a culture that also wants my everything, how to I make a different way?
I've decided to try by making this one change, inspired by Advent Conspiracy, because sometimes, one thing can really be every thing:
"If love is to be the driving force of our gift giving, then money cannot be. Our dominating culture of consumerism can, and must, be rejected. When we refuse to equate money with love, we become free."
I am going to make love the driving force of my gift giving this year. When I think of those with whom I want to share Christmas, I want to look at them through love-colored glasses. And maybe sharing some of myself might be nice, too? Because what is a gift if it isn't sprinkled with something of the giver?
"In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love, you invest your life..."
Mumford and Sonshttp://www.adventconspiracy.org/