I did not purchase our Christmas tree this year. Did not trek to the lot and cull the choices. Did not load up the tree and take it home. This year, I was not the one to lug the tree into the house and wrestle it into the stand in the annual Protean struggle. Nor did I slither upon the hardwoods to tighten the bolts into the trunk - turning one first to the left, and then again: diagonally.
This year, I did not locate the boxes of ornaments hidden away in those secret places where I am wont to hide ornamentation. I did not unravel the mysteries of the lights. I neither decorated the tree nor cloaked its foundation.
Not one gift did I place beneath the verdant boughs.
I watered the tree. Once. And plugged in the lights. Once.
And when the time came (as time always seems to do), I did not unwind the strands of lights, vowing that next year I would make sense of them rather than stuff them once again into a grocery bag. Did not gingerly wrap the globes and glasses, placing them into boxes as if they were hummingbird eggs.
I did, however, release the Christmas tree from its shackles. I did lift up the tree and carry it butt-first across the threshold of the front door - a breech delivery all the way to the curb.
And with squirrels as my witness, I saluted this bristling Fir, recognizing how I had been defined, once again, by the activities occurring around me. As the wizened needles sighed towards the asphalt, I whispered, "Give me the courage to change the things I refuse to accept."