The Twelve Messages of Christmas
“IT’S NOT THEM”
Some years ago, I met a grumpy old man at a meeting in the basement of a church. He appeared to be very irritated, all the time. Of course, I sat right next to him at that meeting and many following ones for many years. It turned out his crusty shell was a poor reflection of the tender over sized heart that lay beneath it. The old man became my friend, teaching me many spiritual lessons over the years. However, one in particular stands out.
After telling him my woes about… who knows what… but I imagine they were very important at the time, as there were tears and desperation involved, he reached into his bag pulling out a small sticker. It was designed to fit perfectly on the dash board of the car so that the windshield would reflect it’s words back to the driver. The sticker read, “it’s not them”.
My initial reaction was, “but it is. It is them. If they were different….” The words were more powerful than my argument, because they were true. He went on to teach me that “any time I am disturbed….there is something wrong with me.” But how could this be? Wouldn’t life be better if ….. the alcoholic stopped drinking, the boyfriend came back, the wife encouraged her husband, the relatives got along, the driver two cars up would quit texting and freaking drive!, and on and on! You know, the laundry list most of have of what needs to change for our mood to be better, for our heart to not break, for our day to cruise along smooth and peaceful. That list, I kept with me and sometimes still do. Yet, looking at the reflection of my friends sticker on my dashboard, I could not help but feel the truth as it struck deep into my soul, “it’s not them”.
Haters will hate. Lovers will love. Opinions are more rampant than all the world issues combined and they change more frequently than a teenagers moods. Life is rolling along the way life does. And it rolls extra special at Christmas. It’s as if all of our buttons rise to the surface ready to be pushed and subsequently are. We are triggered like a fire arm. If the “safety” isn’t on, well watch out, cause we are likely to let that bullet out of the gun. What is about holidays? The travel, airports, long car rides, enormous amounts of sugar, the idea we should be in love, the thought that because the year is ending we should be arriving at some magnificent monumental moment, is it those things? Maybe. Or maybe it’s a million other things. Who knows?
What I do know is this, “it’s not them”. These issues are mine. When I am at peace, in my core, nothing and no one can change that. When I am walking closely with my God, I mean really talking to Him, what can fear do? When I am loving others, am I not “in” love? The idea that someone can tip me off my balance beam, might just mean that I need to take a look at my balance.
So when you are “doing” Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate this year, and you feel the anger flames rising, the heart break starting, the tears coming on, the idea that you have the idea that will make someone else more tolerable, pause…
and hear my friend, from his now new home, on the other side, whispering into the air, “IT’S NOT THEM.”
sending you love wherever you are in the world, Tyler