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December 16, 2014


I’d like to teach the world to sing/In perfect harmony

I’d like to hold it in my arms/And keep it company

I’d like to see the world for once/All standing hand in hand

And hear them echo through the hills/For peace throughout the land

(That’s the song I hear)

I’d like to teach the world to sing

(Let the world sing today)

In perfect harmony**

– Bill Backer / Billy Davis / Roger Cook / Roger Greenaway

As I swirl and tilt about in this holiday season, I am surprised by the polarity of emotion I experience. One moment the pureness of a white twinkle light awakens child-like awe within. The next, I’m cursing the mother-f’n twinkle lights as I take all 600 of them off the really tall tree (which required the really tall, somewhat precarious ladder) because I strung them in such a way that I cannot plug them in.

One moment I am the embodiment of Christmas spirit and then next I give the Grinch a run for his money.

Then, there are the gifts that depression serves up. Generous to a fault, anxiety and depression Give Give Give during the holidays.  The deep swell of shadows, hiding just-under the holly jolly moments.  The uncertainty, the pulsing thoughts, the self-doubt. Everyone here thinks you’re ridiculous. You’re ugly. You don’t offer anything of value. Then, the self-judgement pipes up: This, again? Why haven’t you figured out how to not feel this way yet? Geesh. It’s a Buy-One-Get-One-Free as it gives doubly, serving up both self-doubt and judgement as I stumble through this lack-of-serotonin forest.

I understand the dissonance and discord (and do my best to find their gifts), but they’re everywhere. Within, in parking lots, on the news, across America, the world. But the moments of harmony–these are the ones for which I’m opening my eyes, heart and soul.

A true smile that begins in someone’s heart and spills onto their face, a tight hug, the feeling that I’m being heard and seen, a hand-written note, someone taking the time to share their story with me.

When I’m driving, impossibly blue sky arching above, and REM’s Radio Free Europe begins to play and I blare it. I sing–loud and proud– into an imaginary microphone that I (may) actually  believe connects to the outside world. I open my sun roof because THERE’S SO MUCH JOY and the crispness of winter surrounds my  senses and I dance and shimmy as much as one can when buckled into her seat.  And I ROCK my air-drum solo.

THAT. That optimism. That throw-open-the-doors-because-I-can’t-contain-my-euphoria joy.

The note I discover in the mud room that reads, simply, I love you Mom.

That moment when I can help someone else through the dark. When I can offer this: I understand. I am sorry. I will help. 

The moment when I approach an interaction with my child with understanding and love instead of anger and judgement.

This harmony, this blending of two lives who together make life richer and fuller and bigger and more beautiful. THIS is what I seek.

And so, I search. I open my eyes to the harmonious threads woven throughout my days.



**This song is one of my favorites and I first heard it in the 1970’s Coke commercial. I still listen to this song and it still makes me feel hopeful, and reminds me to be open to joy.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2014 3:44 pm

    Oh yes. The twisted threads of dissonance and harmony, darkness and light–it’s all so much more potent and pronounced this time of year, isn’t it? You capture this tension so beautifully here–and your insistence on seeing the good inspires me. Sending you love & light…xo

  2. December 16, 2014 4:35 pm

    I really liked this post. My husband passed away a couple weeks ago, and I am struggling to find goodness in the world, even though I know it’s all around me now.

    • December 16, 2014 7:41 pm

      Oh, I am so sorry that your husband passed away. I am so impressed that, despite your pain and grief, you are still looking for good. Much love to you as you grieve his loss.

  3. December 16, 2014 5:45 pm

    I so appreciate the realism. I’ve done the same–found myself celebrating the season and the next moment swearing at the cookie dough . . . ah, the joys of self-realization . . .

    • December 16, 2014 7:42 pm

      Yes! Exactly! I feel like every year there’s an argument as the tree goes up. Sigh. Hence, my eyes-open stance. Glad I’m not alone. xo

  4. Marie Dwyer permalink
    December 16, 2014 8:20 pm

    When I was pregnant with you and returned to the U.S., this was the first song I heard when I turned on a TV after a three-year hiatus. I burst into tears and then found out I was watching a commercial! It still moves me to tears when I hear it. Amen.

  5. December 16, 2014 11:37 pm

    Oh, yes. I have a related push, pull, punch. Xxoo

  6. December 22, 2014 8:04 am

    You nailed this season’s dichotomous structure on the head. As I read and enjoy your honest and beautiful post, I am knocked over the head with items that need to be added to the Christmas dinner grocery list.

  7. January 12, 2015 2:43 pm

    I’m late to reading this post and it’s such a pleasure to read your words and find such kinship. Yes, my holidays are so much the same way. Your optimism opened my own heart and even though it’s raining, I am inspired to open up my own moon roof on the way to pick up the kids from school. Thank you for this – for your wide open heart and your honestly. xoxo

Give me your grit.

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