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Thankful Thursday: Moved to Good Cheer

It's been a grim week. Hearts are heavy with the mass shooting of children, with the sudden death of poet Jake Adam York, and with a strain of flu that has hit unusually hard this winter. In all this, the thread of thankfulness that stitches the season with hope and joy feels rather thin and tenuous.

And still, it is Christmas. We have our symbols, our traditions, our touchstones. For me, it's Silent Night. I'm not sentimental but that song tears me up. Usually, it hits me while I'm driving alone at night along a quiet road. A distant radio station plays a static version of Silent Night, and I am overcome with a melancholy ache.

Sometimes I am among others, in a crowd, when the song flattens me — while mumble-singing at church, or while buying milk at the market.

It's a lonely sort of lump-in-the-throat.

Once, I broke down at the Dollar Store. I was ambling down the aisles of cheap plastic baubles when Silent Night played over the din of harried shoppers. Overwhelmed with the season, I rushed from the store holding back a sob.

The other night, at Seashore Family Literacy, a small group of youngsters offered an impromptu concert to a mix of proud parents and restless siblings. Beaming and happy, the children belted out their favorites and valiantly mumbled through tougher terrain. All the while, their joy, their effort, was contagious. When the earnest young ones sang Silent Night, I was lifted from my state of ache and moved to good cheer.

Thank you Seashore singers for allowing Christmas spirit to trump a string of dark days.


It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to appreciate people, places, things and more. Joy contracts and expands in proportion to our gratitude. What makes your world expand? What are you thankful for today?



Reader Comments (7)

Thanks for this, Drew. I always love your stories of the children at Seashore Family Literacy. And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who sometimes tears up at the sound of a particular carol. One of my faves is "Bring a Torch Jeannette, Isabella" -- the tune pulls at my heart.

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMolly Spencer

Molly, I've not heard that Christmas song. I must go on a Google search right away!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

I'm late on this because I've been away from the internet working much overtime. But goodness, what a month it has been.

I am thankful that, although I am tired from so much overtime, I'm building up a good cushion of money for when this project ends.

I am thankful for friends who have helped me as I try to navigate my paid work prospects.

I am thankful for tomorrow, not just because it is Christmas Eve, but because tomorrow is the anniversary of us getting our first dog, Max, who I love more than I ever could have imagined.

I am thankful for the opportunity to take a mini-meditation retreat tomorrow afternoon.

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson

Addendum: I am thankful to realize I'm not a Grinch. I just prefer to observe the holiday season differently (more subdued and introverted) than my family does. And that is okay. Traditions are not one-size-fits-all. And that is a good realization to have.

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson

Amen, Allyson!
The beauty of Christmas is that there is no one way to celebrate; there's room for jingle bells and silent nights. (And I, too, am a quiet celebrant).

December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Silent Night

(a cut-up poem with sprinkles from Off The Page)

Once I broke down at the Dollar Store
ambling down the aisles of cheap plastic baubles
when the muzak of Silent Night sent me out

on the street with no purchase, eyes brimming.
Driving alone at night down a winter road, I'll
hear the radio play a static-grunge styling

and cry like an onion brings tears. In a crowd
it can flatten my mumble-tongue singing in church
or when caught by the melody standing in line

to buy milk. It’s a lonely sort of a lump that sits
in the throat. This year, there’s a bad strain of flu.
Last week the sudden death of a poet I loved, dozens

of schoolkids' bodies riddled with bullets fired by a guy
who killed his mom first with her own casche of arms.
I’m not sentimental. Still, it is Christmas, and some

stuff lives in our cells in spite of ourselves-- touchstones
that wound and re-heal with every re-touch. Their hard
repetitive lives wring a muscular ache. So last night

when the kids down at Seashore suddenly broke into
songs of the season, contagious only with joy, and offered
a sweet Silent Night, something lifted me up, leaving

behind the sad shadows we know, the ones we live with

Linnea Harper / Drew Myron

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinnea Harper

Well, Linnea, that's fun! I'm flattered my words inspired your words. : )

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

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