This morning as I was getting dressed, I yanked open a dresser drawer. Disappointed not to find something appealing in there, I shut it. Then opened it again, resigned to wear something, even if it wasn't one of my faves. I pulled out a sweater and slid the drawer closed. That's when I heard it - a faint chimey noise. I had no idea where that noise had come from. I slid the drawer open and closed a few more times and there it was again.
I moved aside a sweater and there on the bottom of the drawer was a single jingle bell. WTF!?! Anyone who knows me, knows I don't do Christmas. So how did that single bell end up in my drawer? Was it a remnant of the strip of bells I made for the dog eons ago to let me know when she needed to go out? Nope - this was bright shiny new bell. And why had I never heard it before? I open that drawer nearly every morning. I stood there puzzling for quite a while.
During the puzzling, I had a flashback to a certain movie that I had to watch on continuous loop with a friend's son one holiday in which the jingle bells can only be heard by true believers. WTF part 2!?! I am anything but a true believer in this secular Christian holiday. Why would I hear the bell?
I felt something shift around inside me, making room for understanding. I may not be a true believer in the Claus or the Christ, but I am a true believer in love. I am a true believer in the power of darkness and light that cycle through this time of the year. I don't do a tree and haven't for years, but I collect vintage Putz ornaments that remind me of those that hung on every tree of my childhood. I don't hang lights, but am cheered to see lights shining in the long dark of winter. Don't misunderstand. I am not a scrooge. I don't begrudge others this celebration. I just do not want to be part of that. I don't believe that love/gifts should be limited to a few dates on the calendar.
I'm not sure where this post is going, nor do I care. Just trying to acknowledge that in my own way I celebrate love and the shift from darkness to light that happens at this time of year. That is enough for me. You can keep the crazy shopping for crap, the unnecessary tree death of wrapping paper/cards/shipping boxes. You can keep dudes in a red suit and creches. You can keep dysfunctional and drama-filled dining.
I will keep the frost of snow in the clear dark of winter, the lift of carols being sung by hopeful children. I will keep cozy socks and the crunch of snow under my boots. I will keep my friends close and love them as much as I am able. I will love me most of all.
And I will keep that bell in my drawer to remind me that I do believe.