Once upon a Christmas Eve… a woman went into ‘town’; a relatively small one, (called Doylestown) to meet up with a long time dear friend who had recently returned from her new home in Colorado. The reason for her friend’s visit was bittersweet. She had traveled Eastward to spend some holiday time with her family and sadly, to be with her beloved father as he embarked on the next leg of his own journey. Entering into a nursing home prior to Thanksgiving, he was more recently placed in the care of hospice. Sitting across the table from her at dinner, the woman felt a heart tug, since she too had taken those same steps with her own parents in 2008 and 2010 and knew quite well, the surrealistic experience of timeless time spent in their company as the rest of the world did its own dance. The difference was that her parents were able to return Home from their own home. The woman recognized in her friend, the keep on keepin’ on energy and reminded her about the absolute necessity of self care in the midst of it; advice that this consummate caregiver did not heed and now has found it catching up with her.
By way of self care, the two women meandered the mostly empty streets, as snow gently wafted from the velvet black, star sparkled sky. Their destination was labyrinth that had been built across the street from the historic Michener Museum. Taking a deep breath and watched as in exhale, she let go of burdens she had been carrying for far too long that have been arriving as health challenges. Taking her first intentional steps into the structure, she offered up her gratitude and asked to be guided moment by moment through her days. Gazing upward, mittened hands in pockets and scarf tucked around her neck, under hooded black wool coat, she mused about the way life goes. Some of the events of the past year had delighted her and some distressed her. She knew that all things come in measure and need to be recognized for the gifts that they are, regardless of appearance. What may look to all the world like a pretty package may contain something that she never really wanted in the first place and what may present itself in a less desirable box, when opened, may yield that most valuable treasure.
When they both stepped out of their walking reverie, they made one last stop before parting company. The local Starbucks beckoned them into its warmth and promise of sweetness that was hot chocolate for her friend and soy chai for herself. Sipping her ‘occasional caffeine of choice,’ she sighed in surrender once again, slowing her pace.
Hugging their goodbyes, her friend went to be with her father, likely singing Christmas carols with him. The woman drove to her next destination; Christmas Eve services at Pebble Hill Interfaith Church were she had for many years, celebrated the birth of the One who embodied Christ Consciousness and served as a glorious example to love with all that we are. The warmth of friendship, music, prayer, storytelling and candle light brought that meaning into focus.
Upon returning home, the woman found her son busily wrapping gifts for his girlfriend’s adorable 3 year old who has become one of the loves of her life. She joined in the fun, becoming one of Santa’s elves, as they took turns swapping scissors, tape and pen.
While they wrapped, they watched what has become a holiday classic-Elf. She laughed and experienced poignant moments in the telling of the tale of an erstwhile abandoned child in an orphanage who, fascinated by a teddy bear to be delivered by Santa, crawls into the bag to retrieve it. From that moment, he had left one world of white (walls and crib and the habit of the nun who tucked him in and wished for him that by the next Christmas he have a real home) and entered another 1000′s of miles away at the North Pole. A surprised Santa immediately welcomes the wee one into the family of elves and he is adopted by Papa Elf who is the narrator of the story.
Although Buddy is raised in the presence of elves, he doesn’t share their genetic pre-disposition for toy making. He towers over them but doesn’t seem to feel out of place, and yet, there is a longing in his heart to meet his ‘real father’ who he was told lives in New York City. He has all of these fantasies that his human dad will welcome him with the same kind of enthusiasm that he himself has in anticipation. He begins his trek and “passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and then walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.” to arrive in the place that he had only ever seen in a snow globe. Child like, his exhuberance spills over like whipped cream on a mug filled with peppermint laced hot chocolate. Taken by surprise is the father who never even knew he had been born; who was on Santa’s naughty list because of his unscrupulous business tactics and putting work before his family. Buddy eventually melts his father’s Grinch-like heart, as he does with everyone who crosses his path, including the co-worker human-elf in Gimbles’ Santa’s village with whom he finds himself enamored.
Buddy’s unabashed expression of love is inspirational and feeds the Christmas Spirit tank that fuels Santa’s sleigh. It reminds me that there is never too much music for the soul, candy canes for the heart, snow for the spirit, and maple syrup (with which he douses everything, like some people use ketchup) for the imagination.
http://youtu.be/B2uJoVEwbmc I love you, I love you, I love you! -Buddy the Elf