Every Holiday Season, I avoid being in the hustle and bustle as much as I can. Sitting in backed-up traffic, waiting in long lines and being subjected to others’ frayed nerves aren’t my favorites. But last year around this time I received one of those orange cards in the mail, telling me there was a package that was too big to fit in my mailbox. If I wanted it, I needed to go stand in line at the Post Office to get it.
I went early the next morning. Two lines were open with only two people in front of me. Luck was on my side because within minutes of staking my claim as third in line I turned around to see many more people had filed in behind me taking the line to the front entrance door.
You know how it is when you’re in line. You stare, unblinking at whoever is ahead of you being helped. The woman in the left line needed four money orders which we all knew would take a long, long time. The lady in the right line only needed stamps but she was unaware of anyone else but herself as she deliberated over which to buy. The growing masses of which I was a member began to hold court with raised eyebrows and shaking heads.
Gripping my orange card and feeling myself beginning to become what I so try to avoid this time of year, I began to consciously take deeper breaths to slow my breathing. Here’s what began to shimmer.
With sheets of different stamps spread before her on the counter, the Postal Clerk in an effort to expedite, asked, “Which do you want? Snowflakes, Religious or Charlie Brown?
She studied them longer. All eyes were on her willing her to make a decision. “Snowflakes,” she finally said as if concluding it was the least offensive of the three.
The seasonal stamp had been selected. Moving on to the Forever options, the Postal Clerk maintained his momentum with an alternate choice question. “Do you want “Regular Forever or Christmas Forever?”
“Christmas will be okay,” she said as if she were accepting a gift she really didn’t want.
I was relieved to be next and presented my orange card. The Postal Clerk disappeared and arrived back in minutes. I scurried away even quicker with promised package in hand and the memory of this encounter that has stayed with me through this past year.
What do we want this season? The peace of falling snowflakes, the bedrock of religious church values or the light-hearted humor of Charlie Brown?
While I’m usually more than ready to put away the commercial tinsel of this Holiday and get back to the regular order of things, I choose Christmas Forever on a deeper level. Which do you want? Regular Forever or Christmas Forever? Hurry now, there are others waiting in line behind you.
Reprinted from Yadkin Valley Living Nov/Dec. 2016
The Lord Is Come, Watercolor, is one of my earlier works and a longtime favorite.