I confess. Despite my best efforts, I fell into the Bah-Humbug Swamp this past week. Its appearance in my path is a seasonal thing. Right smack in mid-December it bubbles up and grabs me. I tried to tip-toe past it this year, but it sneaked up and sucked me right in, covering me from head to toe with slimy sadness and chunks of disgust. (Wait! There’s a happy ending. Don’t quit reading now!)
Instead of seeing the beauty of the holiday lights and enjoying the music that floated from stores’ speakers as I shopped, all I could see was how driven and stressed everybody seemed as they tried to live up to all the expectations that the season evokes. While I was under the Swamp Spell, it all looked like sheer madness.
But then I remembered the magical rope I had created for myself. See, I knew the swamp was likely to show up, so I prepared for it in advance. In my imagination, I found a big, glittering, quartz-encrusted slab of granite and right in the middle of it I anchored a tall marble pillar etched with the words “Kindness” and “Compassion.” Because it reminded me a bit of a light-house, I placed a revolving light on it, too. I wanted to be able to see it in case I did fall into the swamp, no matter how dark the swamp might be. Then I made the magical rope. It was woven of golden fibers and it had a kind of detector on the end of it so that if I swung it in the air above my head, it would automatically be drawn to the pillar and attach itself there.
It was a cool rope, because I could roll it up into a little ball that easily slid into my pocket, but when I pulled it out and swung it overhead, it would become any length it needed to be to reach the saving pillar.
Another cool thing about it is that while you were reading my description, you built one of your own in your imagination. So now you can save yourself from the swamps of Bah-Humbug, too, if need be.
Anyway, once I remembered that I had my rope in my pocket, all it took was an instant for me to see it swirling over my head, finding the Pillar of Kindness and Compassion, and latching on to it. Once it did that, I flew right out of the swamp and my whole view of things changed. I started looking into people’s eyes and smiling at them. It surprised them, and they smiled back, forgetting how frazzled they had been a minute ago. I winked at children and they giggled. I found little ways to help people. I told the check-out clerk how I appreciated her efficiency and friendliness.
Later, I used the rope when I caught myself losing patience with a neighbor, and again when a friend was telling me a litany of troubles.
I plan to use it all through the holidays. Kindness and Compassion are, after all, the best gifts you can give. They’re the ones that everyone remembers, the ones that truly touch their hearts. And that’s because the glittering granite rock where the Pillar of Kindness and Compassion stands is anchored in your heart, surrounded by the sea of your love and casting a light so bright that it can shine through any darkness.