Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I love the spastic flashing lights – yes the ones that could quite possibly cause a seizure in certain susceptible people. I even look forward to the plastic yard nativity scenes, broken Christmas ornaments, and even being thrown out of the “no fall club” after turfing it on an especially inconspicuous piece of black ice. I love the memories that bring a smile as I pull out that childhood Christmas ornament, or the nostalgia felt when you discover year after year that ugly brown and orange, yarn-wrapped-around-popsicle-stick decoration that your third grade teacher gave you. Throwing it away would somehow equate to a memory wipe of the events surrounding that priceless gift.

As all of that adds to my happiness, it’s the memory of Judd’s face when Santa Claus knew his name and that he had been trying hard to brush his teeth twice a day; it’s the memory of watching him top the Christmas tree with the star; it’s the memory of Drew congratulating Clay after a win in his Christmas Classic football game; it’s waking up and plugging in the Christmas tree while the house is still quiet, and staying there for a moment enjoying the magic. It’s as if we need something tangible to tie to those fleeting moments that often otherwise get forgotten if not captured in our hearts.

Each year I reflect upon those who play in my life’s orchestra. There are the staples – my close friends and family who are the violinists, cellos, trumpets, clarinets and flutes. But then there are those who come in and make certain parts of the song special – a chord on the harp, the addition of a classical guitar, a piccolo solo, or the impeccable timing of a cymbal. While the song would never start with the core instruments, it becomes so much more beautiful and harmonic with the addition of those symphonic instruments. The potential of the song to touch the audience becomes stronger. And even though they may not play the melody, the song would not sound the same without them.

Many of you in my life have functioned as piccolos, harps, classic guitars, and cymbals. I’ve been thinking a lot about you the last several weeks and the role you play in my orchestra. I wondered how I might crash the cymbals in your orchestra, or strum a chord on my classic guitar in your life?

What can we do to help someone today? What if you lend a hand to the lady in front of you in the mile long line at Wal-Mart. You know – the one with five kids playing tag around her cart as her baby cries hysterically.

We all have something to give. Every single day. And I believe once we find out what it is and act upon it, our lives will be that much richer.