Even though the sugar plum hallucinations are in full force by now, there is still bad news flying around this world of ours. Left and right. Up and down. And for some of us, this time of year doesn’t bring comfort and joy. It brings seemingly immoveable mountains of pain, grief, and anxiety.
It can be a bittersweet season as we sit at tables full of food, surrounded by a family that loves and supports us even on our ugliest days and remember, with the awareness we have been given with our maturity, that so many sit hungry and alone. And so we’re moved to action. What can we do to even make a small dent in world hunger, be it hunger for food or connection or relief? How can we live our lives differently? How can we remember that “giving thanks” is a thing to do, not just a thing?
We refocus our lives around these questions and we make deep shifts in our lives and daily living. We sacrifice, change our thinking, our finances, our geography. We sit in the pain of others without running away. We stop trying to fix everything and start trying to partner in the lifelong process of healing. The change begins to show up in our homes, our writing, and our songs.
And then sometimes, in the middle of this big life work we remember that the love that labored and leads us, is light and we get very clear opportunities to bear it for others. We get the chance to do something that seems so simple that we doubt it. We get to bring good, not loaded but light news to those around us. We get to participate in an experience of very basic happiness.
I know that only swimming in the “joy” section of the life pool actually flattens our joy by disconnecting us from the world. I also believe that there’s something to giving good news as a practice, that it doesn’t make us dumb or simple-minded, rather that it builds our trust in a greater goodness, maybe even builds this greater good, and allows us to come up for fresh, course-changing air when we’re treading in the “sorrow” side of things.
Yesterday, in the middle of a busy and trying morning, I had the chance to bring tidings of great joy to others, folks who were in the middle of busy and trying months or years or lives. I heralded from on high (my office) that their Girl Scout cookie orders had arrived. Hosanna in the highest, my friends.
It sounds so simple it’s offensive but I can’t think of many other situations where you walk into a room of screaming three year olds and tell the full-grown adult who is battling her seventh cold of the year and deliver news that creates a split second reaction of nothing but relief, excitement, and hope that 4:00 pm will somehow, some way arrive.
May we trust the opportunities we have to share glad tidings enough that we do share. And even if and when we don’t fully trust, may we share anyway.