As Jim came downstairs on Christmas morning, he saw, once again, the wretched excess of way too much. The Christmas tree, a real tree he’d selected and mounted in the stand, was bedecked with all manner of ornaments and the large lights that were so much more appealing than the miniatures. Some lights were solid color, some translucent colors, and many blinked on and off randomly. Tinsel hung from the tips of every branch made the lights look more in number than they were, but there were plenty. And then he saw it…the stacks of brightly colored packages, many with his name on the tags. Jim had asked for nothing from Mary, and with all the things he’d been giving away, or selling if he could, Jim could have wondered the reason for so much. But he already knew.
Some people think that they’re showing love when they give you something…a gift. In their minds, the gift is love. Jim never saw it that way, but he knew it happens. So how do you speak to someone like that? Is it love? He didn’t know…maybe for some it is, but it never spoke to him. And how do you love them back, if someone sees it that way? Throw caution to the wind, go against the grain, and do the same? It didn’t feel right…or good in any way. Jim’s a bit of a dreamer, but also practical. How many shirts does one person need? And what do you say when there are two more added to the collection? He thought of shirts, but it also applied to ties, pants, underwear, tools…you see the pattern. It was endless. And so were the bills after Christmas. He didn’t look forward to the arguments with Mary when they came due.
So Jim looked at the stack of boxes, all in brightly colored Christmas wrap, all sporting ribbons and bows, and he again wondered why…why so much? Maybe someday, someone smarter than him will figure it out…do the research…write a best-seller. But an ordinary guy has to struggle to get by until then. And he’ll have to say thank you, even while he crams yet more shirts into the closet…and wait for the next charity that calls to ask for donations of “gently worn clothing”. He knew he’d have plenty to give them.
© 2016 Robert Mihaly
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