It is Christmas Eve, Bach Cantata’s currently fill the air around me in my living room with the soundtrack from Love Actually queued right behind. I just ate a couple of juicy, gloriously tasting-of-sunshine and warmth Clementines (which would have been the height of luxury a hundred years ago in a Christmas stocking) and the snow that is coming down is non-threatening and insignificant tiny wisps coming from the North (as it should be).
Some years I go all out with rather Norse and Celtic pagan and Druidic greenery overload (mantles, lintels, door swags) adding sleigh bells to my door knocker and then taking all the living room lamps out and living with candlelight and a Christmas tree lights for three weeks – which is fantastically romantic, but totally impractical – this year didn’t feel right about any of that. The truth is I have ceased to really celebrate holidays – not because I don’t believe in their merit, and not because I am Scrooge and holding onto a heart hardened and mean. No, it’s largely because when you exist in a state of perpetual gratitude (as I do) there seems a falseness about the stress levels and overachieving and over purchasing attached to days that are supposed to be sacred and times for rejoicing and reflection; people fighting more instead of being bathed in pure white light – this hurts my heart so I purposefully avoid the pain.
A little more than a year ago a man with a history of mental illness destroyed the lives of 26 families and that of their surrounding community and shook America (again) to its core. And an artist friend of mine listened to the words of his son and created a memorial collection of art that is filled with light and love gifting the families with the images he created for each victim. Shy of the year anniversary a song was published and recorded by a band called Alternate Routes – the song is called Nothing More (and you should listen to it) at the end of the YouTube video a not-for-profit that works in the memory of but one of those children is featured but the words, oh – the words:
To be humble, to be kind. It is the giving of the peace in your mind. To a stranger, To a friend To give in such a way that has no end. We are Love We are One We are how we treat each other when the day is done. We are Peace We are War We are how we treat each other and Nothing More To be bold, to be brave. It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved And the darkness can come quick The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it. Tell me what it is that you see A world that’s filled with endless possibilities? Heroes don’t look they used to, they look like you do.
I didn’t put up a Christmas tree this year – instead I donated the money I would have spent to the special appeal for Syrian children through UNICEF primarily because my girlfriend Farrah (a dual citizen, American-born Lebanese) cried out for help on her Facebook page because ‘that day’ nine Syrian children had died of complications from the cold in their refugee camps. And as the universe has this uncanny way of making sure that such things maintain equilibrium I have a bottle of Islay Scotch from my ex-husband to offset the ache in my heart of such senseless loss.
And so, when I saw a story in the Wall Street Journal about how DIYers were using their forearms to knit, huge chunky blankets and scarves my first reaction was to share it on Facebook and ‘hope aloud’ that somehow this skillset could find its way to these refugee camps so that parents stripped of their dignity through no fault of their own could be empowered with a hand up rather than a hand out, and create with their love necessary warmth to protect their children.
Which lead to the trail of posts and comments you can find here, which ultimately lead to this Tweet, TY4 FT @ahsan_jehangir – http://www.thistleandbroom.com/…/tab_pr_2011_0504.htm … this is the beautiful yarn for @hands4Syr #PeaceAndLove pic.twitter.com/hIjBCAHkxF and a happy ending to my story – where my amazing Welsh accountant and his wife will deliver kilos and kilos of this energetically pure, certified organic wool from the Isle of Mull and spun at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of New Lanark Mill to the drop site in Edinburgh this Friday morning and onward to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or wherever Hand-in-Hand For Syria takes it.
The Bible is conflicted on ‘how’ we do good deeds – Matthew 5:14 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Whereas Matthew 6:2 says: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
As someone who believes in a Divine presence but is less certain about which monotheistic (if any?) faith S/HE is particularly aligned with, let me just express if there was a way to get all of you to ‘just do’ something amazing and kind and charitable by willing it to be so with my energy I wouldn’t be telling you this story tonight, the presumed holiest of holy evenings of the Christian faith – but I understand the limitations of my presence here on Earth. I am not seeking ‘points’ with God, or with you dear reader. Whether you embrace either chapter and verse of Matthew I tell you this story of suffering and action to challenge you, my readers in 201 countries to ‘do’ something. We are Love, We are One.
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