I think about the nature of Christmas a lot at this time of year. And how it is better to give than receive. And that the giving doesn’t always have to be an expensive gift or something we can hold in our hands.
The best gift than anyone can give or anyone can receive comes down to one word. This word is one of the big words you can utter in this life. Like love or forgiveness. This word is transformative. It has a deep core of knowing. It can stand on its own completely unadorned and still emit an everlasting radiance.
I know that most of us often feel there is far too little kindness in a world that can seem dark and threatening at times but I can tell you it is still alive and well.
It will flourish if we let it.
I have just received an email from a blogging friend of mine. I have never met him in person but I know he is the type of person I would enjoy hanging out with. Some of you may know him as Punatik. He lives in Hawaii.
He is in California right now traveling on Highway 162 in Mendocino County. All that way over on the other side of the world and he takes the time to send me a photograph of himself with a sign saying: Greetings Uncle Sean.
Because he knows my Uncle always wanted to go to California.
Sometimes we lose the thread of things, don’t we? No matter how hard we try the tiny fragment of it eludes the grip of our clumsy fingers and we struggle to pull everything together.
And then someone takes the time to be kind, to be thoughtful and suddenly the thread is there right between our fingers, just where it always was.
Highway 162 in Mendocino County.
I think of Kate and Anna McGarrigle and their song –
Talk to me of Mendocino
closing my eyes, I hear the sea
Must I wait, must I follow?
Won’t you say “Come with me?”
It’s a song about second chances which to me are not so much about starting again but recognising that hope is always there – waiting to rise.
People do that. Give us hope.
Kindness does that.
Thank you, Emilio. Your photograph made me realise that the hopes and dreams people who venture to California hold in their hearts are still there. And everyone all over the world can touch them.
Speak it aloud this Christmas.
Whisper the word into the the night air so it will rise with the spirits of the wind and settle in the morning like bare hands touching.
The power of it is extraordinary.