Yes I know this is a mental health blog and yes I know it is a funny title – My Life as a Christmas Tree – but hey I like funny titles and no don’t worry I haven’t completely lost it and ended up believing that I am actually a Christmas tree.
It is just that I tend to have a different way of seeing things to most people. It is just a result of how my brain or rather my mind works and today it led me down a thought process of considering a Christmas Tree.
When I think of a Christmas tree I think of how it stands all brightly decorated with ribbons and bows, strings of lights, garlands of tinsel, hanging baubles, and either an angel or a star on top.
It brings enjoyment and good cheer, it celebrates and it shares and it blesses and in many ways aren’t we meant to do all of those things?
So when I look at the Christmas Tree I cannot help but think of the story it can also tell of my life.
The roots of the tree – of my life – are firmly planted and offer stability and food and life to the tree. In my life they are firmly planted in my faith and my families, biological and adopted and don’t all of these indeed offer me stability, and food and life? But without those roots where what would that tree be like – indeed what would my life be like? Would it still be strong and upright and secure? I seriously doubt it. Don’t you?
The trunk or central part of my life grows and does so upwards to the light – to God. It grows from the roots of my family and my faith and is the core from which all the branches of my life stem.
The branches hold all the different blessings and experiences in my life thus far. They spread out and hopefully have touched other lives and the wider or longer they are the more they reach out and the more experiences they hold.
The garlands of tinsel I see as being the different journeys that different people have taken with me through the experiences of my life thus far. Many and varied they sparkle and add interest and appeal to my life.
The ribbons and bows are for me those precious moments that I cherish and celebrate and want to share with others so that they too can share my joy. Often shared and on show they add variety and beauty and elegance and although some fade with time each one was and is special.
The baubles represent all the different people and relationships in my life who are so special to me. Brilliant and appealing in their presence they, like all of us are precious and yet also so fragile. Many remain and yet sadly some have indeed fallen and smashed over the years and thus have been discarded. But then aren’t relationships themselves like that? Some fleeting, others long-lasting?
The string of lights are all the wonderful thoughts that I have experienced and indeed shared over the years thus far. They bring with them their own special attraction and sparkle and shine.
The angel on the top of the tree? Well that is without doubt that one woman with whom I would have shared the whole experience of life. She complimented me, focused me, and completed me. Sadly she is no longer a part of the tree, no longer a part of my life and yet her place remains there and I can see no-one ever taking her place. So instead I now fill her place with a bright shining star in recognition that now my heart is fully God’s.
It is a romantic and appealing picture isn’t it? Even if it is a little quirky and a strange way of looking at things.
But is life always so romantic and so appealing? Is the picture always so complete and complimentary? Are all Christmas trees, all people, so wonderful and perfect? Isn’t it true that in life some Christmas trees, some people, are not so well rooted, don’t grow so upright or so strong?
And likewise aren’t some of their branches stunted or bare or even broken or deformed? Isn’t often the case that some hold few additional adornments simply because of their not being as perfect of cosmetically appealing.
And what of the Christmas Tree that represents my life? Yes my roots are well planted but alas they weren’t always that way. Yes my trunk is big (very big, too big even) but it is starting to bed and is so very damaged. And those branches that were once thick and strong and that spread out. No longer do they spread out so much and instead have started to droop.
The baubles representing all the special people, sadly I have lost more than I care to mention and yet I have valued and appreciated each one.
Those pretty ribbons are still there, some of them and yet are somewhat faded in many a case.
Those garlands of tinsel that were so appealing and attractive sadly also have faded and are much fewer now the branches have drooped and are stunted and weakened.
And isn’t this often the situation in so many cases? Truly, if we are honest with ourselves, doesn’t this happen to so many of us? And what is our response to this? Do we still love and cherish those Christmas trees, those loved ones? Or do we simply discard them.
And what of those strings of lights that represent my thoughts and which once sparkled and impressed and shone out?
Sadly they have lost their luster. No longer complete, no longer shining brightly they instead just flicker occasionally and often fail to light at all or do so not in a progressive string but in a jumbled mass of confusion.
See whether we are talking about a Christmas Tree or a person the same considerations are applied are they not?
Isn’t it true that we live in a cosmetically minded world nowadays where only the pretty and the interesting and the cosmetically perfect seems to be desired?
A world where scrawny, damaged, imperfect Christmas Trees are passed by in search of the fuller, more appealing, more pleasing-on-the-eye, Christmas Trees – the one which will not only appeal to us as decoration BUT which will ALSO make the right statement about who we are to those who are also preoccupied by this cosmetically orientated mindset.
Isn’t it true that we live also in a disposable world? Disposable income, disposable knifes and forks, disposable plates, disposable cameras, disposable phones, disposable children, disposable families?
A world where people, even children, the sick and disabled the mentally ill, – much like old Christmas Trees – are quickly and all too easily discarded?
I love Christmas and I love the whole love-fest that should be associated with it. I love the beauty and the glitter and the colors and all the other stuff that goes with it, but I try always to view it all in the right perspective and I pray you will also.
So this year as you start to take down and pack away all the trimmings, all the baubles, all the garlands of tinsel, all the pretty ribbons and bows, when you pack away those strings of lights that have twinkled, when you take down that now barren tree, spare a thought if you will for what I, this damaged, broken, imperfect Christmas Tree of a person have tried to say here and more importantly than that please spare a thought for those who you know who are, like me, physically and/or mentally sick or damaged or deformed.
Spare a thought for them and for how precious each one of them are and if you can find it in your heart please, please, treat them, treat their life with respect and compassion and love and please, please do not treat them, please do not treat their life as a Christmas Tree.
P.s. Yes, I know that “cosmetically” isn’t a proper word. But I decided to use it as it really does speak so clearly into the attitudes I have tried to highlight. So please forgive me it’s use and understand that it’s use whilst improper was intentional. And hey, what else do you expect from a broken and damaged Christmas Tree? 🙂