We decided to spin past a couple houses whose owners have been known to go hog-wild with holiday decorating (so much so that police are needed to direct traffic on some nights - in suburbia!) before it would be impossible to get near them.
Being early in the season, there weren't many other cars driving past the houses when we got there (luckily!). We drove by agape - (as in gaping - staring - open-mouthed, not agape in the theological sense - just sayin').
The picture above (from Manchild's iPod Touch as we rolled past) doesn't capture the hog-wildness of the light show that was this house. You can't even see half the lighted characters, or the roof. Actually, I don't think any photo could express the !holyshit! feeling you get seeing this particular house live, but it gives you some idea (I hope).
The entire lawn was filled with lighted ornaments, every surface of the house was covered with lights - every inch of the roof. No space left undecorated!!
You might figure that anyone's first thoughts, while gazing at the !holyshit! house of lights, would either run to Santa, visions of sugar plums and toys or to fear for the environment and questions about conspicuous consumption. Not necessarily so!
When, later that evening, SBD and I talked about our experience of the house we surprised each other. We each said our first thought had been: "If you lived nearby how could you possibly decorate? What could you do?" Everything and anything would seem like an afterthought.
And that's where the next picture comes in.
As we drove along (agape, as I've noted) we encountered the next house. It took a few seconds for our eyes and minds to be able take in anything else - I think we were well past the second house before we realized what we'd seen.
Maybe the homeowner next door to the hog-wild light show battled with the comparison monster, maybe she wondered how to decorate, or whether (being next door to the !holyshit! house of lights) anyone would even notice her efforts at all. Or not...
we'll never know. What we do know is: Wisdom took the day.
With (we can assume) a touch of grace (and LOVE), and definitely with a sense of humor - she merely pointed.
This brought up a lot of things for me to ponder (like noticing more how I allow comparison to get in my way & a zillion connected thoughts),
but mostly it made me aware that often the appropriate response to something that makes me stare agape - with delight and wonder - is to point.
And it made me want to point to a couple incredible wonders - my internet neighbors (whose delightful offerings don't, even remotely, cause you to worry about the environment):
Kylie Bellard, at Effervescence, shares the most heart-opening personal stories in The Itty-Bitty Adventure Club. Each time I read one of these stories I feel braver (and I find myself wishing Kylie lived in my actual neighborhood so I could go give her a big hug). Isn't Adventure Mouse ADORABLE??
And Andrea Lewicki, at Findable You, who gave my heart a huge hug when I opened my snail mail one day and found an origami crane, a note proclaiming: YOU ARE WORTHY OF YOUR OWN UNDIVIDED ATTENTION, and the invitation to: "Spend 5 minutes in undivided attention."
Andrea is sending these cranes around the world - asking that the receivers spend that 5 minutes of undivided attention and then send them on to another person. You may still be able to get one, no cost, through a request form at the link above.
Check out my neighbors - your heart will thank you!
Photos from Harry Caterson