Dropping by a high-end store recently, I learned a bit about myself when the clerk (out of my earshot) told my companion, "Well, she obviously has a good heart."
Not typically a high-end store shopper, my clothes reflected not only this, but also the fact that I had just spent the past week travelling. Cowboy boots, creased jeans, a favorite old red jacket and patterned red and black scarf completed the look.
The jeans even had a bit of dust on them, courtesy of the Guatemala City dump.
The clerk, not an unkind soul, wanted to reassure my companion that although I seemed to be lacking fashion sense, I appeared to have other redeeming qualities.
When my dearest one relayed the clerk's comment, he also teased me gently about being 'a diamond in the rough.'
I considered covering myself with a sheet, and skulking out of the Boston mall.
Then I decided that having a big heart might be OK.
And that if I looked fashion-disinterested because I had just spent several days in the midst of impoverished children, I was largely fine with that, too.
It was actually the perfect comment to begin my holiday season. It reminded me of who I want to be. Yes, I like to dress well, but I also want my beauty to be interiorly derived.
And this is the way I like my holidays. Though I love the festive atmosphere created by burgundy ribbons and evergreens, I am more likely to notice a bright line of stars across the night sky on a December eve.
I am more likely to notice the way that this makes me feel: that I am part of something much bigger than I might often remember.
The December holiday season, as hectic as it may seem, offers a chance for us to pause in our busy lives.
It offers a chance to ponder the meaning of light in darkness. To ponder the importance of hope, and rebirth; innocence and renewal.
The holidays are not about canned music or garish window-dressing. They are not about decorative trappings.
The decorations are merely a reminder to look inside ourselves.
To contemplate who we are, and how we wish to live.
To peel back the layers (whether fashionable or not) and open our hearts to those we love.