In Honor of a Son
Last night we drove a little north of Franklin to a lovely cul de sac, where a very distinguished older gentleman puts on a massive display of Christmas lights each year in honor of his late son. Stepping onto his estate was like journeying into one of the fair scenes from The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Depictions of Yuletide themes, movable playground images, words of peace and love--the senses were almost overwhelmed by the depth and variety and overall communication of hope in the midst of one man's enduring loss.
I approached the gentleman, calmly smoking his pipe and smiling as young children received candy canes from the Santa Claus he had on site, and briefly introduced myself. He was pleasant but quiet. There was more I wanted to say but didn't have the words. All I could do was marvel at his mega-watt tribute to his fallen son and wonder at the brightness that was penetrating the December night.
Today I am going to be spending some quality time writing at a coffee shop and hanging out in a bookstore, both located in the nerve center of my city's busiest retail district during what is probably the craziest shopping weekend of the year. In the dizzying context of the traffic and the stressed-out people milling around, I hope to hold in my heart and mind the image of the lights contrasting the darkness in honor of a son.
Such a visual keeps Christmas simple for me. Simple yet profound.