Friday, November 25, 2016

The Beacons Aren't Home Yet

Sometimes I wander down to the park at dusk, and gaze across the river.  Perched on my hilltop, the tower lights far away greet me from theirs through the gathering twilight and murky soup of blues and purples.  Blink.......Blink....Blink.  "Hmm, I bet that one is why it's called 'Beacon Hill'" I wondered to myself one evening.  Beacons...we are all beacons in our own way.

The holidays are here, and I was putting up the lights on the "Beacon Tree" for the Kindness Exchange.  (  This time of year brings such a mix of emotions to everyone, and always makes me think of the beacons.  Sometimes we all need to find our way home.  I know I've felt in the past that I needed to reach "home" (metaphorically speaking) before I could help others do the same.  Putting up the lights on the tree this year, I realized something:

The beacons aren't home yet, but they're still lit.  

They're right in the middle of the rocky coasts, the driving rain, the monotony of a stoplight at a suburban intersection.  Yet, shine on they do.

I'm going to do my best to start shining right where I am, every moment, especially if I feel like I'm lost in the darkness.  I'll try to help you find home.  And maybe that will light my way, too.

Shine on!

- Josh

PS.  If you haven't, check out The Kindness Exchange for an easy way to connect with others who are trying the same.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

They're back

The Christmas trees are back.  I saw them tonight in the florescent glare across the dangerous parking lot.  The neighborhood grocery store might be kindly described as "gritty", and I'm quite fond of it. Terrible at shopping, I'm there most every day, and know most of the staff, and some of their stories. I technically go there to get food, but the friendship we share is what's really important.

  I looked in through the dingy window, and saw my friend who has since recovered from the concussion her ex-boyfriend gave her. We talk sometimes, and her strength is commendable.  Most people in checkout #7 miss it, as they're too busy wondering if their coupon worked.  And there across the dangerous parking lot, were the Christmas trees, all leaned against the brick wall in anticipation of the decorating.

  You've got to smell the trees.  Even if it's later in the evening, and people might wonder what you're doing.  Fortunately for me, I know Loretta, the security guard who would be yelling in jest at a sketchy looking fellow wearing a Dallas Cowboys beanie, almost unrecognizable under the grime. She's a Washington fan.  "No, you can't borrow my lighter!  I'm gonna burn your head off!"

  For the trees show up each year, with a faint scent of the northland and memories of Christmas past and those who have left.  It's good to breathe in deeply as you lean towards their battered boughs...and remember.

  It seems like we spend a great deal of effort and money each year to make the holidays something shiny...something picturesque.  I've spent lots of time trying to align a struggle with an ideal, and come away feeling sad that I couldn't do it.  But I'm starting to think the sight of the trees leaned against the indifferent brick wall in the mechanical glow of the lights across the dangerous parking lot - and the opportunity to check on our friends to see if they're doing OK today - is too nuanced to put in a snow globe, but is just as beautiful as those miniature worlds ensconced in glass.

   Here's to welcoming the season with all of it's scenes and our ability to see them.

- Josh