Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tarnish



There are those who savor Christmas long after December 25 has come and gone. They continue to enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree and associated decorations which help us to celebrate this most holy of seasons.

I am not one of these people.

Perhaps it has to do with bittersweet memories of Christmases past, maybe it has to do with my living room looking like war-torn Beirut—littered with boxes, bags, paper and forgotten gifts that have yet to find a proper place. Maybe a combination of both. Whatever the reason, by December 27, I’m ready to put it all away and prepare for a new year and a fresh start.

Today I was boxing up the final remnants of the indoor decorations, a porcelain, rather large nativity scene which occupies the surface of a hutch in our formal living room. When I retrieved the box marked “Nativity – Fragile”, I remembered I had put the silver and pewter pieces which occupy this space 11 months out of the year into said box.

As I was putting the pieces back to their rightful place, I noticed the silver candlesticks were very tarnished. And since this is a time for fresh starts, I could not in good conscious put them back without a proper cleaning.


As I began to clean the first candlestick, a couple of things occurred to me. First, the top portion of the candlestick is covered by a glass shade. If I only cleaned the parts that were showing no one else would notice. Next, the tarnish was significant, probably because they mostly go unused and unnoticed.

I began to clean from the bottom up. I was tempted to clean only the parts that would show (Did I mention that I hate cleaning silver?), but the cleaning became cathartic.

I thought about all the tarnish in our lives. Many of us are sure to keep the parts the world sees shiny and presentable. But what of those parts we don’t show the rest of the world? The parts only God can see? Surely He is worthy of a clean heart and a renewed, shining spirit. And perhaps if I pay more attention throughout the year, cleaning away the tarnish won’t be such a laborious task.

I ask that you indulge me one more analogy. As I placed the candlesticks back on the hutch, I decided to light the tea lights the candlesticks held.

The result of the endeavor was this:


The light shined brightest from those places unseen.

20 comments:

vanityofvanities said...

You're so deep! I like it.

L.T. Elliot said...

A beautiful analogy--especially the ending.

BeckeyZ said...

I'm one who likes to savor the decorations for awhile. I never seem to get to enjoy them with all the hustle and bustle of running around and pulling my hair out prior to Christmas, besides, my Mother would kick me if I took them down before epiphany. Of course, when I was growing up, the tree didn't even go up until the 23rd of Dec. I love your analogies. (and your candlesticks are lovely!)

Nitewrit said...

Ah, you were sounding very Billy Coffee today.

Larry

Annie K said...

This is why I keep my silver tucked safely away in a box.

Great post btw!

Bradley j moore said...

It's funny how the tedious chores can become meditations of enlightenment! Thanks for words of wisdom, KD . And Happy New Year! (Keep polishing...)

Doug Spurling said...

In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen,
1 Corinthians 12:22-23

Kind of like a person that helps another behind the scenes making the scenes. Like a CATalist or a Catdish.

You Shine like Jesus has been polishing on you.

Robin Arnold said...

I have some polishing to do myself. You blessed me with this post, and made my eyes all oozy.

Tony C said...

I can't help but think God smiles when we come to realize such things...

Here's to hoping we all get many smiles from above this coming year.

Happy New Year!

Billy Coffey said...

Yowza. That was awesome! Mind if I borrow that for the next book?

Marni said...

I do love me some deepdish katdish. This was beautiful and the analogy is spot on.

On the shallower side...can I just say I LOVE your hutch and dishes and that red paint is the bomb dot com!!

Happy New Year friend!

jasonS said...

Great post, Kat. Thanks!

Maureen said...

Wonderful post, Kathy! Perfect for this last day of the year. Glynn is right; it's a "deep dish" of heart-helpings.

S. Etole said...

shine on in the New Year ... your light is contagious

♥ Kathy said...

You made it longer than I did. I took mine down the day after Christmas. Happy New Year...I hope you get all you desire in 2010!

Terra said...

This is a lovely story of light, and on the practical side, that lamp zings with shinyness now.
Yes, like you, I will put away our decorations in the next few days, until next year.

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Who ARE you?? Wow, shine on, Katdish, shine on.

Corinne said...

Gorgeous light...

Talkin' Texan said...

Wonderful post. I love stuff that makes me stop and think!

JML said...

HOLY CRAP! Keep reminding us to do so, because I think that so many people have so much more that we really do hide and not clean up. Wonderful example. . . .

My family packs Christmas up on Christmas day, at about noon. I'm mostly OK with it.