Friday, December 4, 2009

Letters and impressions

I know I said I was going to take a break, but the meds are making me sick and the kids are home so I can't sleep and need something to take my mind off. And I guess you can ignore everything I have said in the last 4 1/2 years because apparently I have had a screw loose for that long. He said that the screw had come loose and was working its way out- hence the pain.

And you can decide whether or not to ignore this post because I am under the influence right now.

Over on another blog I read there has been a discussion on whether or not to send the annual Christmas letter with your Christmas card. One commenter said something that got me thinking. Here is what he/she? said. (I would give credit but it was posted anonymously- though I do have a suspision)

If you go to the website, you'll notice that there's a new Mormon Messages video titled "In Sickness and in Health". I'm in it. Believe it or not. I had to sign a talent release so they could "USE" me. A little over halfway through the video they sing TEACH ME TO WALK. I'm the one playing the piano. You can't see my face, but you can hear the music.

So they came. Shot all the footage. At a special care center in Bountiful for Alzhiemers patients. I known all these people. Saw their faces. They are sweet people. But during that particular relief society/preisthood meeting they weren't that lovable. One man kept babbling out of turn. The speaker gave a very weird talk about Noah's Ark. One woman cried uncontrollably. Some were sleeping. Others talking to themselves. It was annoying at times, out of control at other times. But we pressed on. Sort of like raising a family. Lots of warts. Nothing really special. Someone crying. A weird family home evening lesson. But there is love. Lots of love.

In the final video on the church website all the warts are gone, its set to nice music and a great voice over. The video brings back the memory of the most important part of moment. The love.

I think Christmas letters are like that. You edit out all the crying, the warts, the goofy talk. And you mention the reasons that you love your family. And when you get done, you have a wonderful letter set the music of love. If the sisters who have issues with christmas letters would just sit down and write a christmas letter, I bet they'd have the same experience. What, on its face, seemes like nothing special, just their wart-filled family life, when they focus on the love, by writing about it, they will find a jewel of a letter.

In sickness and in health. Of course you should write that letter.

And another thing, Julie.

When your character walks into a room and describes the setting, we find out more about the character than we do the room. Does she notice the colors of the walls, or the gun hanging on the wall? Does she describe the beautiful oak flooring or the gap between planks that show years of moisture expanding and contracting the wood pieces into a less-than-perfect foor? Does she notice the ornate picture frame with gold insets or does she spend her time focused on the family in the picture?

The same is true of the analyzers of Christmas cards. Are they so focused on analyzing and dissecting the accomplishments of the people in the letter that they are unable to rejoice with the letter-writer over the love they have for their children and spouse?

The analysis tells us so much more about the analyzer than it does the analyzed.

I started thinking about the things I say here on the blog and the impression I might make. I think I whine and gripe a lot here and if you didn't know me in person or just wandered over, you might get think that I am a whiney, unappreciative brat. And I don't want to come across that way, because I don't think I am that way. I sometimes forget that it is not just family and close friends that read here.

But I will admit that I have had mixed feelings about the Christmas letter. I don't write them because I figure anyone that cares about knowing what has happened already knows. Maybe I am wrong. Because I enjoy getting the letter from friends I haven't talked to or seen or heard from since the last Christmas card. (though Facebook and blogs is changing that a bit)

But there are some letters I hate getting. I understand the warts being stripped away, but these letters are so stripped that they could qualify as fiction. Or comedy. Or both. And they are so embelished that they could be classified as art. You know, there baby was born reading Encyclopedia Britannica and could recite it from memory by 5 months, or their cub scout earned his eagle by age 9 and they end it with, 'too bad your kids are just average'. (pretty sure mine was the only copy that had that last line)

I don't get those letters anymore because the were from the kids' dad's family and I never see them, but for a long time I let them color my feelings for all Christmas letters. That is too bad because I stopped letting myself enjoy and rejoice in the lives of my true friends and family.

No longer. I will continue to talk about the warts and crying and weird talks because they are part of my dance of life. But I am going to try and make more of an effort to talk about the joy and the love and the people in my life, because they are what truly makes the music in my life's dance.

Now, Let It Be Christmas

Let It Be Christmas, Alan Jackson

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tawnya said...

I hate Christmas letters. They are only fun to mock...kinda like some of the blogs I see! They are Christmas letters 365 days a year...

Jeri said...

i LOVE Christmas cards and letters. LOVE LOVE LOVE them. In fact, I've spent this week getting my cards and letters ready and tonight I mailed most of them out. I collect the ones people send me and compile them in my "who's who who's where" book. Every year I love pull it out as then new cards and pictures come, and marveling at how the kids have grown... I LOVE THEM! and no - I don't put int he depression or hard times - my closest friends and family already know that. it is totally my time to share the happy moments of the year with those who I'm not in constant/frequent contact with.

Karlene said...

I love Christmas letters too. I got my first two today. Yay!

Hope you're feeling better soon. Jim came home today. First thing he did was head straight to the computer to WORK. If my Mom hadn't stopped me, I'd have smacked him!

Kimberly said...

Wow! What a hugely thought-provoking post. Especially for someone like me who is so conflicted about the Christmas letter issue. I'm trying to write one but it's not going well. I think I feel inspired now though...

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