I’m not going to sing it…But you know the song

December 2018 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Dixon CMYK 2016I saw a wonderful post on Facebook last week, paraphrased, “Don’t criticize someone’s choices if you don’t know what their other choices were.” It made me think a lot, especially as Christmas is approaching.

It seems we are on a roll, but not in a good way. Instead of saying quietly in our cars, “I was at the intersection first. It’s not your turn!” we choose to offer our angry faces or less-than-friendly hand gestures. What if we choose differently? What if we show them a courteous hand gesture and a smile, letting them go first? Our chocolate caramel hazelnut macchiato can wait for those three seconds we lost. And another thought – maybe those other drivers are rushing to get antibiotics for their baby, and chose to drive a little bit more assertively? What is wrong with, when faced with a choice, we choose to be kind and a bit more patient?

A scary thought, perhaps, but come January 2019, the first 2020 presidential primary will be just 12 months away. My stomach is beginning to seize up as I write. But what if we drop the subject over holiday dinners and get-togethers? What if we choose to nibble on our grandbabies, ask our grandparents how much they have seen and how much things have changed in their lifetime, and watch a sappy Hallmark movie together instead? When ol’ Uncle Ed says he hopes he finds a “MAGA” hat under the tree this year, why not simply smile or give him Santa’s address?

When your college progeny comes back to the nest for the holiday season after a brutal week of finals, “Bernie” is going to come up as the greatest leader the world has ever seen (because he really wants student college debt to be manageable and health care for all). Instead of egging them on with “How is he gonna pay for that?” or “He kind of comes off as an angry old man,” why not say simply, “It will be an interesting time in the year ahead. Gladys, your tofu-quinoa-kale-persimmon dressing is incredible. I feel healthier already.”

We can choose to engage and have the conversation go south quickly, or we can choose to keep the peace, at least until the Christmas tree comes down. Or if we must engage, may we choose to respond, “That is an interesting thought, Dad. Why do you believe the burning of fossil fuels like ‘glorious coal’ is helping to stave off climate change?”

Choose to be polite. Choose to listen. Choose to be respectful.

As I write, my thoughts go to tonight’s tree lighting in Towne Square Park, the new Children’s Christmas Lantern parade, and what song I should do poorly at karaoke. There are visions of Lucy, dancing in my head, trying to see the world through my two-year old granddaughter’s mischievous little eyes. What does she think about Santa’s magic fairy dust instantaneously making the lights go on? I think of 17 renditions of the song from the movie Frozen, “Let It Go,” that I will hear tonight, and it makes sense to me. Let it go.

Let the anger, the sadness, the arguments, the politics, the grudges, the envy, and the judgements of others go. Even for a little while. It will still be there waiting for us in January. But for now, let’s choose peace. Let’s choose family and friends. Let’s choose laughter, and love, and reconciliation with loved ones to mend once wonderful relationships that got away from us. Let’s choose to let it go. It is, after all, about choices, and we are in the driver’s seat.

However you celebrate this special time of year, may it be blessed, peaceful, and
a time for reflection of what we can do in the coming New Year to make the world or our little niche in it a better place to be.

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