Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blinded by the light: it's the season of sparkle.

I know I'm being a buzz kill. It's the holiday season, for god's sake.


Maybe my killer of buzzes comes from the way I've come to view the action of shopping. Most of us probably know by now that I have a jaundiced eye when it comes to retail.

Maybe I've been influenced in part by my lovely friend Debbie, with whom I shot the breeze at length today. Debbie's a personal organizer.

I know it's a sparkly time of year. I understand that the day after tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday - people will start lining up at stores all across this great land just as I'm crawling into my jammies tomorrow night.

But something very essential about the season is lost on me.

Part of what's missing, for me, is wrapped in the fundamentals of this holiday's essence, which seems to be tied with a lovely, sparkling bow of acquisition, topped with the promise of deep discounts.

One in ten of us doesn't have a job. Hunger isn't relegated to Africa - it's probably living right down the street. Millions are wondering how to pay next month's mortgage.

But we must have the flat screen that's 40 percent off on Friday.

Buzz kill, right?

But the sparkly is so alluring. It's such a beautiful, seasonal distraction. 

We deserve it, though. Right? What with all we've gone through lately? Don't we?

Sounds depressing. 

And as Debbie mentioned today, depression kicks the shopping gene into high gear, because shopping makes us feel better. It makes us, at least temporarily, feel like there's hope.

And according to the message of the season, it's the season of hope for a lot of people.

A whole bunch of people hope they'll be in the front part of the line when Best Buy opens on Friday.

Praise you, baby Jesus, whose birth we celebrate.

Which brings me back to my point. And I do have one. 

It's a beautiful thing, to acknowledge the importance of others, during this season of giving.

It's also a beautiful thing to remember, as Debbie reminded me of today, that it's good to celebrate the abundance that currently surrounds us. We don't have to spend a dime to appreciate what we already have. That doesn't even count what we already have that we don't even use.

Many of us are blinded by the sparkle of the possibility this season is designed to make so resonantly clear.

And sometimes what we have right now, in this moment, is just enough.

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