Trimming The Tree (Ummm… Sort Of…)

As our beloved Christmas tree nears the end of its lifespan, its once fragrant green needles becoming dry and crispy, Ken begins to get a psychotic twinkle in his eye. He walks by the tree, testing the crunchiness of the needles, counting down the days until his most favorite time of the year.

Then one day shortly after Christmas, out comes the Santa hat and the reciprocating saw.

And the tree is “trimmed” a second time, but this time with a lot less finesse.

This time it is hacked limb from limb while a saw blade revs relentlessly and and a crazy man in a Santa hat fills the air with maniacal laughter as he unceremoniously hucks the pieces through the open second-story window out onto the front lawn. (more…)

Choosing To See Beauty…

Parenthood. It all started out so simply. A blank canvas of wonderful plans, hopes and dreams. Nothing but a future full of potential — potential that I had filled with my own ideas of how it would be.

But then something happened. And then something more. Shadows on my crisp white sheet of parenting plans. Marks from an unexpected pen. I scrambled frantically, trying to wield it all back toward the pattern I had been so carefully crafting.

But it was out of my hands. Our world buckled and folded as my husband and I watched — disbelief, fear and grief heavy on our hearts.

Loss. Loss of so very many things. So many hopes snipped away before they could even begin to be cherished. News, diagnoses, speculations — on and on they came, cutting away until my heart bled dry.

The pieces of me were left scattered. And it hurt. And I grieved. When I looked around me, I saw the wreckage of a dream, of a family, of me.

But then I noticed something among the wreckage. Something that didn’t look like wreckage at all.

Not an accident of untold grief and tragedy, but something special. Something carefully planned and crafted — and not by my hand.

A child. A special, brilliant, beautiful child. Placed with design and purpose in my hands — gifted to me.

And there is still pain. There is still grief. There is still fear. Only now I realize that I have a choice. I can look at the holes in my pattern — I can focus on all that I have lost. Those blank missing pieces, the new marks and shadows of things yet to come. They are still there and I can choose to fix my gaze on them and grieve if I wish. Sometimes I do.

But when I do, I miss what is there. The beauty in-between the missing pieces. The beauty made possible because of those missing pieces. It is there — just as real and rare and beautiful as any snowflake. I just have to choose where to look.