There is one strand of the twinkly red Christmas rope lights hanging around my garage door that refuses to light up. The absence of lights on only one side of my garage looks decidedly weird.
Being in the Christmas frame of mind where perfection hadn’t yet been tarnished with reality and continued to glow like a perfect string of lights, I took it upon myself to make the problem go away.
With that thought in mind, I took myself off to the Christmas light store. Here I was to discover there are now about a zillion different kinds of Christmas lights to choose from. But, luckily for me, it seems a Christmas angel was smiling down on my harried, frantic self and there among all the icicles and twinkle starlights, I found it. One solitary box containing a strand of red rope lights.
I pushed my way through all the other people buying Christmas lights murmuring stuff like “sorry, I need that box, I really need that one box. Merry Christmas, now get out of my way. Thank you.”
People looked at me sadly.
“Whatever,” I said, using body language to communicate. Using such language seems to work for my youngest grandson, I reasoned.
Treasure in tow, I trotted up the steps and put the package by the front door so I could wait until it was almost dark and the temperature dropped enough so my fingers would be really cold and putting up the lights would be more of a challenge.
For some perverse reason, I seemed to like that idea.
Anyway, the appointed hour arrived. I walked outside, eyeballed the situation and decided I probably needed a kitchen chair as opposed to a ladder to get the job done. About this time, putting up the lights rapidly deteriorated into a really bad thing.
The strands, it seemed, were apparently stuck together with crazy glue. Finally, I was overcome with some kind of super hero strength that can only come to people standing on tiptoe on a kitchen chair trying to put up Christmas lights.
I pulled the strands apart, almost falling off the chair as I did so.
Voila! The next step was to screw the new string of lights into place using my newly frozen fingers. It was at this time I discovered that the new strand might look the same as the other strand I was trying to hook it into, but appearances can be deceiving.
It was not. The ends did not fit.
I could say I climbed calmly down from the chair, still in a happy Christmas frame of mind and went inside to cheerfully make supper. But that would be a lie.
In fact, I found myself dissolving into tears like a child who has just discovered the reporter who penned the famous editorial, “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa”, was, in fact, only reporting his own version of the truth.
It took awhile, but finally I came to terms with my Christmas light fiasco. When I gave logic the reins and put emotion in the back seat until it could behave, I reminded myself how very lucky I am that I have the luxury of only being stressed over lights that don’t fit my picture of perfection.
Even shutting off the news and turning a blind eye to print media (please don’t do that), will not obliterate the fact sadness, heartache and violence are very real, very out there.
Refugees, who will, for the first time ever, celebrate Christmas on foreign soil. Layoffs that seem to be more the rule than the exception. Senseless shootings that are becoming more and more frequent. Dear friends who will be found on Christmas Day, cloistering around a hospital bed as their loved one goes through yet another round of chemo.
Christmas! It’s all about perspective and being grateful! Really, it’s no different than any other time of year.
Treena Mielke is editor of The Rimbey Review and is a columnist for Black Press.