I may not be feeling the holiday spirit at the moment, but I still managed to see my two favorite Christmas trees in the last two days.
The trees at Rockefeller Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are the two big ones for me and I thought I wouldn’t see either one this year due to my ongoing medical misery.
My viewing of the Rockefeller Center tree was a fluke, as I just happened to be riding the express bus down Fifth Avenue on Friday night when I looked to the right and there it was, climbing straight up into the sky.
Traffic was moving so slowly that I got a pretty decent view of the tree and of Fifth Avenue, which was ablaze with lights and decorations.
The air was so cold and the sidewalks were so clogged with humanity, that I was very glad to be sitting inside a warm bus.
The only reason I was this far uptown on Friday was because I was seeing a specialist for a second opinion about my internal plumbing problems, which have cracked my personal Kris Kringle into a million pieces.
The surgeon and I discussed my options, which come down to either going in for an operation or doing nothing at all and hoping I don’t have another colon flip like the one that sent me to the hospital last month.
Obviously the thought of skipping surgery entirely appeals to me no end, as I would very much like to keep my innards inside where they belong. But there’s the risk that my colon could misbehave again at some inopportune time—like in the middle of vacation, for example.
The doctor asked to see the CDs of my latest CAT scans, which means I have to go back to the hospital and buy a set—the perfect Christmas gift!
On Saturday my sister, auntie, and I went to see the Met’s beautiful Christmas tree, which is not only lovely, but also located indoors, so we were spared the discomfort of freezing our tails off.
This is my favorite Christmas tree in town. It is decorated with the fabulous angels and surrounded by a beautiful an 18th Century Neapolitan Nativity scene, and, since the tree is located in a controlled environment, the Met conducts a number of tree lightings throughout the holiday season.
Oh, Christmas Tree...
I’ve seen this little ceremony more times that I could possibly count, but I still love it. Everyone crowds around the try while the lights dim and the room falls silent, or at least we hope it does.
Then a small beam appears of the manager, while “Silent Night” begins to play. The tree gradually becomes brighter until it is fully lit. It doesn’t last more than five minutes, but the experience stays with you for a long time.
After that it was dinner at a Belgian restaurant and a crawling cab ride down Third Avenue to my aunt’s apartment in Murray Hill. I found that I was getting crabbier with each passing moment.
I was tired and feeling sharp pains in my hip, which could mean that back trouble is cranking up again.
I try to remind myself that now, when I’m feeling so low, is the perfect time to rein in the anger and be grateful.
It's easy to be serene when everything is going your way, but the real test comes when you can shine even though you're neck deep in all manner of grief.
I'm sorry to say that I haven't been shining much lately.
I had hoped to get the surgery done before Christmas and start the New Year off with a clean slate, but that’s not going to happen. I won’t rush into an operation and it’ll be better to have the holiday madness behind us before submitting to the scalpel.
It’s so strange, but the season is rolling right off me. I’m not doing any “bah, humbugs” or screaming at orphans. I just don’t feel like I’m a part of the holidays this year. It’s like I’m still enclosed in that bus, looking out the window while everybody else is making merry.
I haven’t sent out one Christmas card, even at this late date, and the only “shopping” I did consisted of pressing a few buttons this afternoon and shipping a gift out west.
We could all use a little Christmas right this very minute, but you have to make that happen on your own.
The real miracle is overcoming our doubts and fears and living as happily as possible. That kind of awareness doesn’t come down the chimney; it comes out of your heart.
Now all I have to do is believe.