Christmas is 8 days away. And it’s the first time in about 8 years that I will be spending it here, at home in Iowa. You see, ever since my two brothers and I became “adult children” my parents “canceled” Christmas (the tree, the gifts, the hustle and bustle, the stress) and traded in the crazy for a family vacation where the sunshine is plentiful, the drinks come with umbrellas, and you still get service without shoes and shirts. But this year, we will be home. The entire family. Together in Iowa for Christmas for the first time in almost a decade. And it’s odd. As the holiday continues to draw near, I am learning lessons both about the season and myself. Let me fill you in.
- Commercialized Christmas is crazy
- Family and friends are fundamental
- Manic-cures are sanity saving
I think we all know what I mean by number one, so I will be brief. Actually, I will quote the church service I attended this morning, “It’s easy to miss it if you misunderstand it.” How true is that? It’s so easy to miss what Christmas is all about if you misunderstand it. Christmas isn’t about maxing out your stress level and the plastic in your wallet. And I’m going to be blunt here, but if your focus is on the commercial cat-and-mouse you WILL miss it. Because the real meaning and joy of Christmas isn’t something that comes with a price tag and a bow. This brings me to point number two.
Family and friends are fundamental. I know this. I am what some call a “bleeding heart.” I love those I love and I try to take as many opportunities as I can to let them know that. But around this time of year, when the commercial Christmas is in full swing, I find myself increasingly grateful for those in my life who lift me up and simultaneously keep me grounded. This life isn’t always fair, kind, or easy to understand and because of this it’s an amazing blessing to have both hands to hold and arms to catch you. Take a moment this holiday season to look around at those in your life and let them know you are grateful for them. For showing up both when the laughter is loud and when the tears are quiet. As much as we all like to think we are fiercely independent (note, this is me talking to myself here), we need family and friends who challenge us, love us, and point us back home. Praise God for these people.
And finally, to the namesake of this blog, I’ve been reminded during the crazy season that manic-cures are sanity saving. And I mean this literally and figuratively. Literally in the sense that one of the things I have found myself grateful for lately is the wonderful woman (see: friend) who gives me a manicure every two weeks. What started merely as an appointment to keep my nails looking fresh, has turned into friendship with a radiant, encouraging, and soul-warming fellow human being. Now, I’ve been told I can “talk to wall” but I am wise enough to know that to make a connection requires another warm, open, and joyful soul. And that’s just what I found in my manicurist – and that wonderful connection has made my world just a bit brighter. In fact, it would take something seriously important for me to cancel my appointment. Not because my nails would suffer but because my emotional and mental health would suffer too. Sounds dramatic, but I’m being 100% honest. Every two weeks, I walk out of that salon with a pep in my step, joy in my heart, and lightness in my being. My glossy nails are just a bonus.
But figuratively, manic-cures are absolutely sanity saving. However, you define them. Whether it is a literal manicure with a friend, a warm cup of coffee with your face to the sun, logging miles with your tennis shoes laced up tight, a new candle, your favorite take out with a side of a cheesy rom-com, the lights down low and the music up loud, breakfast in your favorite pajamas before a busy work day, or turning off your cell phone and settling in with a real book. Whatever your manic-cure is, make time for it.
Plug into peace.
Here’s to manic-cures – may you find yours this busy season,