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Patricia C Behnke

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Put the Tinsel On Anyway You Want
By Patricia C Behnke   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, January 30, 2005
Posted: Sunday, January 30, 2005

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Holding onto control only makes us spin harder out of control when life intervenes.

We create suffering for ourselves when we attempt to control life.

While men traditionally controlled the big picture, it is the women who have stoked the home fires. While the rest of the world spins out of control around us, as long as the heart of our lives remains under our control, we manage chaos and even create beauty out of it.

So what’s the problem?

We can never really control people and events, but we sure make ourselves and those around us miserable as we try. We forget about the important things because right in the middle of all that control, life happens.

And out the window goes the control.

The tight reign we had on our world comes spinning apart just like a spring set free from its coiled position. It will never go back to its old form; but if we learn to enjoy letting go of control, we may just find the new shape of the coil serves us even better.

In the chaos of the holiday season, women go into a control tailspin.

I speak from the experience of one who knows that in this life the tighter we hold onto our control the more life will come along and bite us in the posterior until we get it.

Thousands of white lights decorate my house during the month of December as I attempt to recreate the Christmas of nobody’s past yet immortalized by Currier and Ives.

I learned to control the holidays from who else but my very own mother. My brothers and father were banned from participating in the tree decorating the year they took whole packages of tinsel and threw bunches on the tree. My mother and I pulled the globs of silver off the tree and proceeded to put each strand of tinsel on its own branch, delicately and precisely.

Looking back on those days with insight, I would rather have had my brothers all together with my parents decorating that tree. My parents are no longer living and my brothers are separated by the miles and unsettled emotional issues. Who really cares about a tree with perfect tinsel?

I remember on Thanksgiving when a neighbor made pies for my family because my brother lay in a coma in the hospital. The pies could have been made by Martha Stewart herself, they looked so perfect. But one bite told us the woman who had worked so hard controlling the facade of her pies, forgot to add any spices to the apple and pumpkin creations on our plates. She forgot the most important part: the part that really counts.

The Monday before Thanksgiving my daughter informed me she had been unable to get off work on Thanksgiving Day and would not be home until Friday.

I found myself ready to call her boss. Now what did I imagine I would tell the boss of a 22-year-old woman about his scheduling problems during the holidays?

My old controlling self would have had no problem with making that call and making a fool of myself in the process. Instead I spent the next few hours feeling sorry for myself.

But mostly I felt utterly without control over this situation. And when I came to that realization, I also remembered some words of wisdom that have floated past me in recent months. I am just now learning to apply these words in my daily life.

“Let go, let God” repeated itself over and over again in my brain as I tried to fight the holiday blues. And a pretty miraculous thing occurred.

I realized that my daughter is alive and well living 90 miles from me, and I will see her over the Thanksgiving weekend. That’s something for which to be grateful in this world where our young men and women leave us all too soon or fight for us on another continent, in another world.

My control over creating the perfect Thanksgiving comes not from any reality-based concept, but from the concepts imposed upon us by advertisers hoping to sell more products using the sheep’s clothing of Norman Rockwell over the wolf called materialism.

I decided the reality bore a false picture, so I created my own safe haven. My favorite part of the holiday season has always been the lights so I decorated my house the week before Thanksgiving to brighten my world.

And I thanked God for helping me realize I have so much for which to be grateful.
My pies may not grace the cover of a magazine, but they are filled with spices and love.

And the rest of this holiday season, I plan on taking it one strand of tinsel at a time — or one bunch at a time, if I so desire.

Web Site: Patricia C. Behnke



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