Yep, today’s pre-Christmas ramble is targeting ‘Joy‘! We’re told that getting some is not only ‘key‘ to enjoying Christmas but to life generally. If you want to live long, you better get busy with cultivating some joy!
OK. Sounds good. But accepting such a presumption doesn’t tend to make it any easier in terms of flow. Real life, the day to day cynicism lol, tend to too readily catch up with us and metaphorically bite us on the butt. Also, we all like to receive joy but do we also pay as much attention to giving it? Then there’s the whole pressure of time which can feel a bit like a trap in the whole process. Here’s a couple examples.
Looking back, for example, perhaps getting too nostalgic about joyful memories, effectively dwelling in past joy, tends to make me teeter into melancholy. Simply because, the separation between then and now only serves to underline the fact that that particular constellation of experience (the people, the places) is unlikely to repeat itself in the exact same way.
So, there’s always looking forward, right? Something my youngest is at the moment an expert at doing, says the mom having to repetitiously answer the same question … ‘when’s Christmas?‘. Sure, he’s super excited, but I wouldn’t call that joy per say, ‘cos there’s always the slim chance Santa screws up big time and things take a less than joyful turn. So, no done deal yet on his anticipation of joy lol.
So what does that leave us with? Yep …
Right now. The present.
That’s all we got, my dad used to say. Right now.
The experiencing of joy has a zero correlation to price-tag, even though twisted thinking and large doses of comparison try to convince us otherwise. Cultivating a joyful attitude in the present is about an internal shift, the sparking of a particular vibe, regardless. Paying attention to internal joy, tends to attract more of it your way…so, that’s all I got … but, in the run up to Christmas? I’m definitely down with feeling that. #JustLove
Another Christmas Sample:
Anyway, here’s a Christmas scene to get us in the mood. It’s from ‘The Promise’ my BWWM romance released earlier up this year. I loved ❤ writing this one. I hope you’ll reading it!
The Promise, L.S. Bergman
The look on my father’s face when he opened the door was something I’d never forget. Priceless. I guess I hadn’t been exactly fair. My parents knew I was dating a singer, who played in a well-known band. What I hadn’t elaborated on was that even my parents were down enough with popular culture to recognize the man standing holding onto their daughter’s hand.
“Bilan?” my father asked, his voice sounding mystified and a little unsteady. He always reverted to my middle name whenever things tended to run away with him.
Keith held out his hand, “Hello, Mr. Monroe. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
My father’s hand did a slow motion slide into Keith’s, his eyes trying to hold steady on Keith but darting to mine every other blink for seeming confirmation. The questions in my dad’s eyes were just not letting him go.
“Dad, this is my boyfriend, Keith. Keith Parker,” I said, as I heard my mother’s voice rushing up behind. We were still stuck on the freezing doorstep, as my mother appeared.
I watched her eyes widen like an owl’s, and I could sympathize.
The penny dropped there too. And, what was more, my mum seemed to like what she saw.
Keith looked gorgeous. He had made a special effort for the occasion, pulling on a dark gray Armani suit,with tie, a black woolen overcoat, with his hair neatly tied back from his face, accentuating his chiseled jawline, and handsome features. The man looked business executive cool at the moment, perfectly complementing my cream-colored business skirt suit. Keith was going to drop me back to work after our extended lunch. That was the plan, anyway. I had yet to believe we’d even make it through lunch.
Watching my parents frozen to the spot, I endeavored to do something to lighten the special moment. “Mummy this is Keith. Keith this is my mum, Aamiina,” I gestured to both of them. My mother released a slight giggle of disbelief, as he took and shook her hand. “Can we come in now? It’s kind of cold standing here.” I felt Keith’s thumb strum the back of my hand in a soothing action, to calm me.
“Yes, yes, yes of course,” my father stammered, moving with my mother to one side as we squeezed past into the narrow entrance hall of my home.
Keith towered over both of my parents in an out of character, almost stately way. There was something about a fine looking man in an exquisite-looking suit that did it every time, even mum wasn’t immune. But what my father was lacking in tailoring and height, he more than made up for in his fiery character.
“Excuse me for being direct. But you’re a grown man Mr. Parker.”
Like that…. I cringed. To be clear, I was his only child, and the apple of my father’s eye, Keith more than anyone knew what my father’s position felt like. He was bound to be just the same with his daughter, Anya.
“Keith. Please call me Keith.” There was no reciprocating… please call me Abshir… none of that.
“Still a grown man,” my father emphasized, still tripping over the astonishment of that fact, the racial difference already an obvious second point of parental concern. They knew I was seeing someone, an older someone. I just hadn’t really elaborated as to how old. No actual details. I don’t know, a part of me had convinced myself to enjoy it while it lasted. Wary of Keith’s reputation, it was what it was. The magic with Keith would most likely wear off, and so, the less involved my parents were the better. Home would at least be one haven I could go back to without any reminders. I wasn’t proud of how defeatist my initial thoughts were, but it felt practical at the time. Except now, here I was letting Keith all the way in. He’d crossed the threshold and there was no easy way back. Not now. And, if my heart had an honest say, not ever.
Looking up at Keith, he was smiling, contemplative, his hands now stuffed deep in his trouser pockets, his gaze evenly tempered upon my father’s attempts to hide a scowl. “Yes, Sir, I’m aware of the age difference, but, I can assure you, your daughter is more than my equal. She is mature beyond her years.”
At that moment, I felt proud of both my father and Keith. They were both holding their own and it was heart-warming to see they both had my back.
My mother was just smiling away. She had a beautiful smile, with perfect white straight teeth competing with the wonder in her eyes. I could see the clock ticking in those clear dark pools of her soul, eyes I knew so well. Counting down the minutes until she could get Aunt Beydaan on the phone and give her the astounding low down. But as my father’s lips moved again, I was lurched out of my daydream back to the awkward and urgent present.
“True. But I find it a little absurd. I mean, I always imagined my daughter to find someone more her own age.”
“Believe me, in here,” Keith teased, referencing his decidedly youthful ways. “Ale and I are on the level.”
“Hmmm,” my dad didn’t like the relaxed sound of that.
“Shall we go through,” I interrupted what was building to be a tense face-off, sliding my coat off and taking Keith’s, reaching to hang them both on the coat hooks just behind the door.
“Yes, lets,” my mother almost squealed excitedly, her voice sounding too high. I could tell she had taken to Keith. She was acting all bubbly and girly. This observation was also currently being shared with my father, which was most probably only going to fuel my dad’s fire.
I was just relieved to move from the present position, hoping that in the few steps it took to get from the cramped hallway into the cozy, but small, dining room, all of the social ice would have miraculously thawed.
Seeing we had the issue of age out of the way…let’s see, that only left the stumbling blocks of lifestyle, race and most of all religious orientation to look forward to. If there was a temporary hole in the ground I could climb into right now… I’d rub that lamp and tell that genie… bury me now.
I watched Keith scan the room.
My parent’s home was nothing flash. It last had an upgrade in the late ’80s, but it was clean, tidy, not too much furniture… minimalist. African art decorated the walls, masks, tapestries and vibrant water colors, which my parents were particularly proud of. I loved them too, it was just too much of it in one room, you couldn’t appreciate the depth without feeling like you were being sucked in, irrespective of your artistic slant. Wooden carvings framed the fireplace and side-table, and there were two intricately carved head-rests of dark wood placed in opposing corners of the room, with a sofa placed inbetween. No one ever rested their head or sat on them, they’d always been purely decorative. Symbolic. Our little bit of authenticity where the ghosts of my long lost grandparents seemed to rest their weary heads.
There was a small Christmas tree placed in front of the blocked fireplace, which was adorned with the same tired old baubles, many of them made by my own hands as a child. It was so familiar, it felt like Christmas in replay, our house being stuck in a kind of time warp.
There was a heavenly smell of cooking coming from the direction of the kitchen as per usual. I knew mum had been busy. She’d made an effort, because she knew how important today was to me. I also knew, with Christmas just around the corner, she would be already fully stocked. One law of our little family universe was our house could never run out of food.
Gesturing for us to sit around the table, mum made for the kitchen. I wanted to go out and help her, but I was loathed to leave my father alone with Keith. However, this is where tradition kicked in, going to sit, I stood again, ready to follow my mother.
“It’s okay, Bilan. Stay, and keep Keith company,” mum insisted, waving her hand excitedly in the space between us. My mother and father always seemed to switch to my Somali middle name, whenever they felt pressured, especially by a foreign presence. It was as if its use was reinforcing something concrete in their mind. Something deeply significant.”
The Promise – Tactics of Love © L.S. Bergman 2017