Bananas for Christmas

Christmas Day 2017

To me, Christmas used to mean hoping I’d be gifted something I couldn’t afford with what little money I had at any given age. Over the years, it lost meaning and became a superficial expression of long-standing friendships with people I’ve known forever but hardly know. It nearly lost all meaning when Christmas at home stayed the same 80 or 90 something degrees it is during the other 11 months of the year and the gifts I received were gift cards for which I had next to no use, further diminishing the faith I had in restoring the happiness and unconditional joy of Christmas.

But in a little over a week, with people I hardly know but feel like I’ve known forever and whose names I can’t remember with confidence, I felt communion for once, I felt like the company wasn’t there out of routine or obligation, I felt like everyone wanted to be there. I loved it.

A wise woman I met that week told me a story of how her life was much simpler in her single digits and the one gift she remembered that filled her with the most joy as a child was a box with two bananas, an orange, and a pack of peanuts from America. Bananas and oranges and American peanuts were not local to her hometown, making them more valuable than they would be today to most average 6-year-olds. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sentiment, making me wish gifts that simple had such profound meaning for all giftees nowadays.

What a wonderful world that would be.

I spent that entire Christmas day in one of the most beautiful and historical cities I’d ever visited, had some of the best cultural food I’d ever tasted, and met some of the most beautiful people I’d ever lay eyes upon.

But just for the record, on Christmas day, I danced with a Hungarian man in the middle of the woods while a hammered dulcimer filled the surrounding air with coppery tunes and upbeat music that my two feet could never seem to keep time with for more than four steps.

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November 30, 2017

I wonder if you meant that.

I needed this, I hope you know that. I needed something like this for a very, very long time after sinking helplessly farther into the nadir. I once felt like escape was not a realistic possibility, only a tantalizing glimmer of light in the distance. But now, I no longer feel so unconsolably trapped. I have you to thank for that. I’ll be forever grateful.

For once, my inhibitions didn’t prevent me from moving where my eyes led me, doing what my whimsical heart wished—and it was lovely. I didn’t have qualms over menial concerns or even the paralyzing fear instilled in my soul.

I felt calm.

Calm shouting over intermittent train horns. Calm from chasing shadows and catching sun flares. Calm when discovering all what I didn’t know about myself, and more so what I didn’t know about you.

I appreciate that.

If you’re wondering if this is about you, well… your guess is right.

I hope that on your journey showcasing the beauty of others, you realize the beauty within your entire being, your whole existence. Whether others, or even you, yourself, bear witness to your gift, know that it is there, intangibly but undoubtedly there.

All in summary, my heart is filled with an incomparably profound gratitude, misunderstood gratitude.

Or rather, not misunderstood, but simply unspoken.