How do you believe that hearts communicate? Do you believe it can only be heard through what someone may say? We hear that actions speak louder than words, but do you believe? Or do you only see certain actions and other ones you do not heed?
Each year this ornament plus five more are hung from a branch of the Christmas tree. One could say I have grown up with them; perhaps I, too, am antique. They are nearing fifty years old, and they may even be older than that. Their exact manufacturing date not known; only the time they were purchased from the store rack. Purchased near free, for it was Christmas Eve. Coins pulled together to ensure Christmas would come to our home. A kind stranger donated the tree for these bulbs to adorn. I nine months old give or take a couple of weeks; not old enough to understand words, but old enough to feel another’s heartbeat.
Simple but oh, so grand, extraordinary contained in one box of twelve glass delicacies. A seed was planted then as I lay in her arms, her looking proudly at that lighted tree. The most extravagant riches are those that cost the least monetarily. And even more, when love is the root, we see nothing less than magnificent beauty. Humility, compassion, giving of the heart mother to child and stranger to a mother in need. Grace, gratitude, kindness, and how that stranger also planted a seed.
I visualize a thread and a stitch that was made in nineteen-sixty-eight. I am certain that thread began even before I was infant age. Unfortunately, I am not able to trace back the stitches that lead the thread from this stranger to a mother that Christmas Eve night. And I am certain I am missing threads from others to a mother wishing for a decorated home for Christmas she would find. But I do know of two more stitches that were made from what a stranger most likely saw as a simple act. A mother and the child she held as her heart felt gratitude for this generosity now pay kindness forward to strangers when they can. And because threads do not run linear, but weave and stretch outward to ever expand, an additional stitch is paid forward from a second child’s hand.
For some, Christmas is symbolic of birth, a new beginning. Christmas also holds a theme of tradition, of repeating year over year a same thing. I think of the evolution I’ve made with respect to Christmas and a tree. Adding new ornaments, adjusting the timeframe when to bring one home to decorate; in tandem, the tradition of these six ornaments and that the tree needs to be Charlie Brown-like with an imperfectly perfect non-uniform shape. A blend of new and a blend of old, like the New Year too. Like the setting sun who takes turn with the rising moon. Even when I veered away from that thread, from the seed planted in my heart all those years ago, the seed stopped gently growing, firmly haven taken hold.
It is time for the ornaments to be safely tucked into their box awaiting next year’s tradition to hang from uneven bows. It’s time for the tree to fulfill its final purpose before it’s needles fall to the ground. The tree a shelter for the birds as they visit the bird feeders nearby. A port from the winter’s snow and wind, a haven to hide. It’s time for the current year to close its eyes and let the new year step into the light. Perhaps it is because this year to the next marks a significant transition that these ornaments have increased in their reverence for me; they seem to be whispering even louder than they always have the simplest things hold the strongest heartbeats.
I stand in the middle between the sun that is going to sleep and the moon that is now wide awake. I stand in silence watching each with their own unique display. They, too, do not speak words, yet they move in natural rhythm effortlessly. Each radiant in their colors, such vibrancy. The sun casts its orange and yellow as the moon rises white against the blue and lavender at it’s feet. The moon will then keep watch as it maintains the dark for the sun to sleep.
I relish how the sun is starting to call it a day, like the year that is waving goodbye. I also relish how the moon is rising tall and strong, like the new year that is full of possibilities to find. The sun and the moon, each with their own purpose, their own heartbeat; yet joined together, unison, as one, in harmony.
Back to my question how do you believe hearts communicate? There are the facial expressions we can notice, things a pained face can convey. But to what extent do we let that facial expression penetrate to our own heart and speak? Do we let it enter, seep down in, and inspire us to offer a hand or a listening ear if we perceive there is a need? Or perhaps we go to a different extreme? Perhaps what we see and hear stirs up our own fear of the dark? We then push far away and avoid listening to the other’s – and our own – heart. Do we offer to give something away because “it is hours before Christmas Day” as a way to also make sure that we are giving away dignity? Or do we border on looking at the pain from our own self-pain such that we end up giving away pity?
Do we see the sun’s beauty as the moon also glistens as it rises with pride? Or are we too focused on the temperature that it is outside? What do you see and hear as your heart beats steadily? Is there an opportunity to receive what is being communicated differently?
I stand between the sun and the moon, between the current year and the new. I think back to the heart I heard when it whispered in that darker time gratitude. Even though there were clouds, that there was also light that heartbeat knew. Payed forward to me was sunshine. Both in the lit tree and in how to view life. The simplest things hold the strongest heartbeats. If we are quiet and listen, we will hear the additional rhythms love and extraordinary, may we always see both in each person we meet.