More to Come

In celebration of one year of writing at tjhirst. com, I’m republishing some of my favorite posts from the archives this year.

Thank you to all you who come by to read and discuss ideas with me. Do you have a favorite post?

Today, we’re taking down our Christmas tree to make room for teenagers at our New Year’s Eve party. This post, Melancholy is More, originally published January 2, ’08, seems appropriate. Hope you think so, too.

melancholy: n. 1. Sadness or depression of the spirits, gloom. 2. pensive reflection or contemplation.

The high of the holidays came down with the Christmas tree and decorations today. One by one, each carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed ornament returned to its 11-month home of bubble-wrapped packaging. If setting these out a month ago brought anticipation, putting them away brought melancholy. The contrast crashed upon me.

Year round, our modern home is not decorated. It is furnished. It is designed. But it is not decorated. (Less is more!) Today, though, the hallways stripped of garland and the living room bared of a nearly 10-foot tree felt empty. Why was this? I thought. Usually, I am cleaning up before the party, vacation, or cooking is even complete, and I am enthused by the task.

Rather than pressing forward, I settled back on the couch and gave into the sadness and depression of spirit by allowing myself to thoroughly feel the loss of the holidays being finished. As I did this, my mind moved through the sadness (definition #1) into pensive reflection and contemplation (definition #2). Rather than jumping over the inevitable emotions, I experienced them, and in a natural way began to focus on marking those holiday moments as memories in my mind.

I continued remembering the family games (some fun and some teaching moments), the quiet moments of pondering the symbols of the season, the one-on-one time with my husband, and the comfort food. Other memories of the past year began to come to mind: special events, cherished friendships, and lessons learned. My mind was not blank nor was my heart longing anymore. All these moments filled the void.

When my children returned home, they barely noticed the change of decor. I asked, “What’s missing?”

They looked around, confused, until I pointed out that the tree was gone. My son said just what I would have once focused on in my youthful post-holiday moments. “You took that big tree out of this place and replaced it with this small chair. It looks refreshed.”

Melancholy can be more, which is a lesson I could only learn in middle age.

1 Comment

  1. terena
    Dec 30, 2008

    Lovely post. And so true. I don’t have the heart to take down the tree yet. And since my daughter still loves looking at it, we’ll keep it up a bit longer.

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