I was thinking recently about Stephen Colbert (who used to host “The Colbert Report” and now hosts “The Late Show”). When he was young, he apparently got into a bit of trouble at times (doing “doughnuts” in a Waffle House parking lot, for example). One day, when his mother was out of town, he threw a football in the house and wrecked her crystal chandelier. He knew she would be angry when she found out—if she found out.
Young Stephen took all the crystals off and rearranged them in a new pattern. It took him quite a while, but when he had rehung the chandelier, it looked just time (if a little different).
But here’s what tickles me: His mother never even noticed! “I told her 30 years later,” he says. “She was like, ‘I’m so proud of you.’”
I like this story because it reminds me that not everything that breaks has to be a disaster. Sometimes we can rehang the broken pieces of our lives and create something different out of them. It’ll never be the same as it was, of course, but it can be beautiful in its own way. (And sometimes the only person who knows it’s different is ourselves!)
Colbert’s story also reminded me of my own Christmases growing up. Whenever any of us kids broke an ornament while trying to decorate the tree, my mom would not scold us. She would just have us sweep it up into a flour sifter and grind it into glitter, which we would then use on art project.
As the holidays come up, I hope we all remember that no Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, or New Year is perfect. But it doesn’t have to be. When ornaments, chandeliers, or hearts are broken, they can usually be mended in some way – or at least reassembled into something different that will, in its own way, be a present to put under the tree.
I wish you Happy Holidays, everyone, with, of course, a little…
peace and unrest,