Light it Up

I know many people think we start too early celebrating the holidays with decorations and music, but not me. With Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year's Eve and Festivus, what's wrong with taking 14.5% of the year and intentionally focusing on a little joy and gratitude?

Most of the distractions that get in the way of your holiday season don't exist for me here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. There is never the feeling of not enough sleep or time, not enough weekends. Life is neither too hurried nor too challenging. None of the usual factors that grow into a general lack of joy can shroud what keeps me from appreciating this time of year. So I have no excuse, other than federal prison...and that's not enough.

As I consider this time of year, one of the best parts of the holiday season is the lights. Colored lights are fine, but I prefer the clear ones and have been known to line roofs, flower beds, sidewalks and wrap trees and branches with them. I've also been known to get a new artificial tree when that one mysterious dead twinkle bulb killed the entire string.

In The Gifts of Imperfection Brené Brown writes, "Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments--often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Others times we're so afraid of the dark that we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light. A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable. I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration and faith."

At the end of each day during this holiday season, I challenge you to think of one to three joyful moments that occurred during the day. String those moments together. Don't fear the dark; instead light it up.