Fragile Christmas Tree Decorations

When I was a kid, we use to celebrate Christmas every year. My father was buying a big Christmas tree, most of the time reaching up to the ceiling of the living room and we spent a few hours decorating it. We, as in my mother, my sister and I. We carefully picked a globe-shaped decoration, put a thin string through the small wire ring on top of it and then hung it on a branch. I clearly remember the red, blue and white decorations. And I also remember how fragile those decorations were (I think they were made from a very, very thin glass, or something). That was a fun time, a really fun time.

Except for when we dropped one of the Christmas decorations on the floor. Because they were so fragile, they broke up in dozens of sharp pieces. My mother didn’t like this. It was dangerous, or something. I think she was afraid that we were going to cut our feet. Or palms, because, as kids, we use to crawl a lot – more fun than walking, apparently.

I think this was the only shadow over Christmas: the fragility of the decorations. In time, I think I developed some sort of a fear: I was totally hyped about the whole Christmas atmosphere, the music, the gathering, the presents, but, somehow, I was really apprehensive about decorating the tree. I knew that something may go wrong. The decorations were fragile and they were always ready to break up.

It’s been more than 30 years since I first decorated a Christmas tree and I recently realized I still have this fear.

Falling Globes

The other day I was cleaning Bianca’s room. We still make a Christmas tree every year and I stored the decorations near her toys. Of course, it’s not Christmas yet, so I was really surprised to find a few decorations out of their box. They were hanging out from some closet drawers. I don’t know why they were there, but apparently it was a very fun game: there were more than a dozen of them. Some in places even really hard to spot, like the pockets of my pants.

As I was gathering the colored globes and put them back in the box, one felt down. I saw it in slow motion, rolling over the edge of a closet, floating in font of my eyes, slowly reaching to the floor and, just a fraction of a second before it hit the ground, an entire flood of emotions took over me. I knew the globe will fall down and break. Dozens of sharp pieces will spread over, some in hidden places, sitting there and waiting for Bianca’s feet or palms to be cut. My mother’s frowning – emerging from some hidden, unconscious memories – and my stomach instantly shrinking completed the picture.

And then the globe hit the ground.

And then it jumped back up. And then it hit the ground again and bounced back. It did that a few times and then it stopped. This globe was not made up from thin glass. It wasn’t breakable. It was just a very polished plastic ball, flexible and light. It didn’t break up.

I sat down and took a deep breathe. Picked the globe and put it back in the box. Then smiled and had one of the biggest reliefs I had in years.

Life Changes. Luckily

They don’t make Christmas decorations like they used to. And that’s a great thing. It means they’re not breakable anymore. But, somehow, in my mind they were still breakable.

Sometimes, we’re taking things for granted. We know that some processes are unfolding in a certain way and never question them. In my mind, the Christmas decorations were always breakable. But in reality, they changed.

Luckily, this post it’s not about Christmas decorations. It’s about change. And how we’re not always ready to see it, to accept it and to embrace it.

It may take an unexpected spin, like a falling globe, to realize that something that it use to be in a certain way, changed.

You may think that you’re not lovable, for instance. Or that you’re not good with relationships. And, to be honest, you had some real proof for that in the past. You had your fair share of bad choices and stupid decisions. Just like I broke my fair share of Christmas decorations as a kid. Those were for real.

But that doesn’t mean it’s still like this. Maybe sometimes, during the process, you changed. Maybe the subtle fabric of your being strengthened somehow. Just like the current Christmas decorations, which are not breakable: they’re light, flexible and more powerful. Maybe you’re a different person now.

But since you’re used to take for granted that you’re not ok, you don’t even care to question this assumption anymore.

Go With The Free Fall

If some events are taking an unexpected turn, if you suddenly feel like a Christmas globe ready to fall from a closet, just go with it. Yes, it’s frightening. Yes, it may bring back bad memories, and it may make your stomach shrink with fear. And yes, once you’re gonna hit the floor, you may break up again in hundreds of pieces.

But there’s one tiny chance that you won’t do that. Instead of breaking up, once you hit that floor, you may bounce back. More powerful, more flexible and happier than before.

And you know what? You may even enjoy the free fall. 🙂