Last week my sisters and I ended our weekly zoom call with the chant “Eat More Cookies!” Christmas cookies of course. We had talked about cookie parties with masterful decorating by imaginative young minds and hands. It was a feel good topic and we had struggled with some news and topics that were definitely not feel good. We talked about “kids these days” and how sad it was that two local young men had died in a tragic single car accident. There were 5 passengers in the car. Lives ended and lives forever altered. And of course there was discussion about the pandemic and the dangerous political and cultural divide. And you know…. Sometimes I’m afraid to take a deep breath for fear I might inhale too much of the toxic “air” in the U.S. and start coughing violently, not to mention getting infected with Covid. There is no use waiting for the canary to return from inside the coal mine, she’s not coming back.
So how do I catch the “Christmas” Spirit? I think I take it from the macro level down to the micro level. I stop the broad focus on the state of this country and focus instead on my micro world of family, friends and food and shelter. My house is decorated for Christmas and I have more than enough food and expendable income to afford to make Christmas cookies. And I get to make cookies with my son! A lot of the photos I take are of flowers and I love to edit them and zoom in on the center of the flower. There is beauty in only seeing the magnification of the flowers center and not the flower as a whole. Sometimes it’s hard to even recognize the photo as part of a flower. This is a way for me to think about how I can choose what to focus on. I simply can’t deny that there is a lot of “bad” in the world, but I don’t have to focus on the whole when there are parts of my world to focus on that are beautiful and joyful. The bad won’t disappear if I don’t focus on it, and it may even get worse, and I can always pull back and focus on the macro world if I choose to.
It could be that the world will simply go to hell if I’m not paying attention. Of course, this is quite egocentric, but some days I lose perspective and forget I don’t have control over anything but my attitude and my actions. I can eat that cookie if I want to, it’s my choice. If Putin decides to invade Ukraine my level of influence is zero. This powerlessness drives me crazy sometimes! I spin my wheels and chant “Why doesn’t somebody do something? Four years of watching Trump get away with everything really showed me how there there may be no “somebody” to “do something”. In turn this realization may make me eat more cookies to feed that frustration monster. The problem is that even I can get sick of cookies after a decade or so and then what?
I may run away and hide if I actually had the power to effect major world changes. Making mistakes on that level are not the same as choosing the wrong movie or restaurant. Now,at least I can sleep at night. My micro world is just fine, thanks for asking. I do have more and better coping skills than eating more cookies, but Christmas cookies are once a year treats so
I’ll have that cookie, one of those, and the one with frosting on it. Please.