I enjoy Christmas shopping more and more with each passing year. Most often, I pick one day, two or three stores, and do it all in one swoop. As much as possible, I try to shop from local businesses, making it a point to get to know the owners, employees, etc. and to enjoy the connections that last throughout the rest of the year.
One of my favorite businesses is a locally run fair-trade store that specializes in international ware from individual craftspeople. They sell everything from Tibetan prayer flags to Mexican candles to African sculpture and so on. Last week, I came across some jewelry made by a Cambodian craftsman. Living in an area that has seen many years of violence, he combs the ground where he lives to find bombshell fragments, shrapnel, bullet casings, etc., melts them, and turns them into jewelry and ornaments. Much of the jewelry looks like gold, but I know it’s not. It’s remarkable how resplendent remnants of torture and death can be.
Survival wasn’t enough for the craftsman. He claimed and reforged the the death instruments turned useless turned useful turned beautiful. The pain and loss wasn’t forgotten…simply redeemed.
Redeem the time. Give the world the gift of your future. When memories blur and bleed and break apart the thought-they-were-healed wounds, redeem the time. Not chipper, cheery redemption, recalling Hallmark card platitudes…but redemption like combing your fingers through the ground, finding bombshell fragments, and melting, forging them into something new, something precious.
This isn’t a happy Christmas anecdote about lemons-into-lemonade, caterpillars-into-butterflies, or all’s-well-that-ends-well-yay-wrapped-with-a-bow-on-top-pass-the-cookies. Shiny earrings made from shrapnel won’t give back the lives that were stolen. Just because a wound heals doesn’t mean it ever really stops hurting or the scars ever completely fade.
Last night, I sat on the stoop outside my apartment, shivering though bundled under a blanket, breathing in crisp air, and looking for stars. There were none. A fog had rolled in, and no amount of searching would reveal signposts in the sky. I would be lying if I said hope was easy to come by.
But time doesn’t stop for pain. Time demands a reckoning. Time demands that, as you see another Christmas without a loved one or with pain or without reason or with confusion, you make something beautiful, even if the beautiful thing is just you being alive.
Redeem the time.
And give the world the gift of your future.
One thought on “The Gift of Your Future.”
I enjoy your very thoughtful observations. Thank you fir sharing your world with us. May you have a Merry, peaceful Christmas.