Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Lights aglow inside and out. Table is set. Food is prepped. A night to relax after much preparation.
I must admit I am a perfectionist. I cannot walk through my house without straightening up, touching up , lining up, making a list and then checking it twice. I am here simply because on this day I am aware that not everything in life can be fixed. Sorted. Rearranged. Settled.
It all began with a TABLECLOTH. I hated it. I grabbed it in a hurry, as we added two leaves to the dining table and now nothing fits. Too long or to short to make sense. I told myself…in a very stern voice…
Get over it!
I didn’t listen. Instead I drove through Pre-Christmas traffic, to roam the aisles, sidestep the throng, seeking the perfect tablecloth. I walked to the very back of the store, only to find I was out of step with commerce. The Christmas tablecloths gone, replaced by Valentine heart covered pink too soon too soon , useless tablecloths. I was not alone in my search.
A woman stood beside me, tsk tsk tsking in chorus with me in our mutual disdain. I showed her my list with the new table measurements, and we both scoured each shelf, knowing I was out of luck. Red, I said. I just wanted a red tablecloth. She smiled. I turned to leave and noticed she had a package in one hand. She reached out to touch my shoulder, and handed me the package. A beautiful red tablecloth. For you, she said.
For your Christmas.
Why is it so surprising, when unexpected kindness drops in your lap? I shook my head and said no no I cannot take that from you. Yes. Yes, you can, she said. Consider it a gift from me to you. We hugged and whispered to each other Merry Christmas. Then she said. Go HOME.
It was a long line waiting to check out, but I could not help noticing that everyone in the line seemed different. More patient. Gentle with each other. Smiling easily. Making jokes.
Surely as anxious as I, to get to my car, and to be HOME.
Not everyone can be HOME for Christmas. Or so I used to think. The truth is, no matter where you are on Christmas morn, you ARE home. In your heart, you can always be HOME.
Years ago I designed a picture for my artwork. I pulled it out a few minutes ago, and remembered the incredible folks who found comfort in these words.
So from me to you, this Christmas Eve, a gift.
A reminder that wherever you may be,
you can always find your way HOME…
As you travel,
I wish you unexpected kindness…
HOME IS A SPACE, NOT A PLACE.
IS WHERE YOU CAN SLIDE IN FEET FIRST, AND BE SAFE.
HOME IS WHERE YOU CAN WEAR FLANNEL PAJAMAS, GOOFY SLIPPERS, BAGGY SHORTS AND WELL WORN, BUT DEARLY LOVED OLD T-SHIRTS.
HOME IS FOR NAPS, AND CUDDLES, AND POPCORN.
HOME IS…A PUTTING FEET UP ON THE FURNITURE,SCRATCHING WHERE IT ITCHES, CRYING IN THE DARK, AND LAUGHING TILL IT HURTS …ZONE.
HOME IS WHERE WE FEEL REAL…
UNGUARDED, RELAXED…AT EASE.
HOME IS FOR MESSES, AND MISSES AND LOSSES.
HOME IS FOR CELEBRATORY CONGRATULATIONS.
HOME IS OUR HISTORICAL LANDMARK, OUR OWN PERSONAL MUSEUM. PHOTOGRAPHS,TROPHIES, CHILDHOOD ART, NICKS ON TABLES, GROWTH CHARTS ON WALLS , AND PET BURIAL GROUNDS MARK OUR TERRITORY.
HOME IS A SPACE, NOT A PLACE.
HOME IS WHERE WE BELONG, WHERE WE MUST LEAVE,
AND IF WE ARE VERY LUCKY...
WHERE THE MAT BY THE FRONT DOOR,
ALWAYS READS “ WELCOME” WHEN WE RETURN.