Nostalgia is like that remembrance of your first untainted cup of hot Earl Grey tea on a frosty morning as you glance out the lattice windows to behold the winter tapestry which was etched overnight as you dreamed of fading autumn leaves and dancing snowflakes. Perhaps, nostalgia is that first kiss of innocence between two children embarking on the odyssey of life on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Now that Thanksgiving has receded into the yesterdays of 2018, one can contemplate the approaching yule tide with a sense of childhood’s Christmases of yesteryear. For many the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was a time of excitement and joy.
For some it was a time to be best forgotten. For those yesterdays of Christmas hold no special place for them—those Christmases past of yesteryear were more lumps of coal coating their young lives with the soot as sable as the moonless midnight.
Coal soot is difficult to remove. It clings to the avenues of memory where no light can penetrate its layers of disappointment and sadness.
Many attempt to compensate for those sooty pages of the past with a mad rush to embrace the frenzy of the days before Christmas. Shopping becomes a Black Friday marathon to get those advertised items which will add a twinkle to that tree of memory.
This twinkle is not from the deft skill of a fairy. The mythological Tinker Bell can always work on her cooking kettles and give Peter Pan a helping hand in his misadventures, but she cannot scrub the layers of coal soot enrobing the minds of those who seek to just stain those ebony layers with fancy glitter.
Regardless of the number of items one has, the ache of the soul still demands to be heard and felt. Festive drinks and foods may dull the senses and give a momentary satisfaction that all is right with the world, especially the inward world.
When the stupor of frenzy is passed, life returns to its normal course. The normalcy still has the discarded tinsel losing its luster as the sooty pages once again become displayed.
Perhaps, the solution to those layers of umbra is to focus on what one can do for others during this holiday season. Replacing those memories with ones of helping the less fortunate may be the solvent to clean the soot.
There is something about giving which invigorates the soul. With so many in need in December 2018 the necessity of giving becomes paramount for their survival as well as your own.
Community focus is an acceptable one for this time of year. However, the look beyond one’s own community to the wider human community is worthy of attention.
Many have lost everything. Many are grieving the loss which cannot be replaced.
They are adding those coal soot layers, especially the children. A generation of the hopeless becomes tomorrow’s reality.
What they will remember in the tomorrows of their lives is that someone made their Christmas a bit special during those murky days of December when hope seemed to be a fairytale which proffered no comfort on a cold or hot night. Fairytales or the Tinker Bells of 2018 are those who give of themselves to others without needing recognition of their gifts.
Gifts are precious. As the remarkable Maya Angelou wrote
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. The size and abundance of the gift should be important to the recipient, but not to the donor save that the best thing one can give is that which is appreciated. The giver is as enriched as is the recipient, and more important, that intangible but very real psychic force of good in the world is increased.
“When we cast our bread upon the waters, we cannot presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor’s gift.” Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.
G. D. Williams © 2018