Thursday, December 23, 2010


The word "contrast" is defined as "the degree to which light and dark areas of an image differ in brightness." It can also be explained as "to set in opposition in order to show or emphasize differences."
Contrast is why some of us farm and enjoy rural America so very much. We indeed have mundane jobs at times, even in farming. Just like a factory or desk job, running a tillage machine or a combine for the third week in a row begins to wear on the nerves.
But without a doubt, there is hope. We eventually finish what we've been doing and go on to the next job. Book work leads to taxes which lead to the planting season, certainly a nice contrast which leads to tending crops and on and on. It is the contrast that makes it all worthwhile.
Maybe it's the "grass is always greener" aspect of human nature, but it always seems that what we're about to do is much more interesting than what we're doing right now. The weather is going to be better next season. We love spring but it leads to summer which makes us yearn for fall and then here we are on the edge of winter and we've already begun to dream of getting the planter out of the shed.
It's all of this anticipation that makes life exciting but it can also ruin your very existence. We get so tied up with looking ahead that we fail to see the blessings we should be thankful for every day. We plan to get involved in Christmas programs, parties, shopping and when the time comes we say "Okay, we sing at 10 a.m., but we can't hang around after the program because we have to load up and get over to Sarah's for dinner "but Dear, you'll need to leave Sarah's early to drive little Bobbie over to the neighbors." … and so it goes.
I read this week that we need to be careful of everyone's feelings because each of us is carrying an unseen burden. The part about all of us having burdens is for sure true and with that in mind I decided to try an experiment a few days ago. I was walking through a crowded store in a neighboring town and being in a holiday mood I decided to watch folks carefully and see if I could get a smile out of them.
With the exception of one woman with three young children in tow, no one looked at me. She smiled but almost everyone I looked at just stared at the aisle ahead of them, or the floor or for the most part their husband or wife who were walking along side. They almost all had a look of disdain on their face. I didn't find many happy people except for the workers in the store who were being paid to smile. It was part of their job.
What have we come to? These folks need some contrast in their lives.
I think it's a benefit of age that we eventually figure out that money or what we have has nothing at all to do with being happy. We get around finally to learning how to be happy with what we have and who we are and what we can help others become.
For your contrast this season try taking a deep breath, think of your family and friends and think of them as the gifts to you that they are. Handle all with love. Keep your finances and emotions in check, slow the pace down and decide to be happy.
Getting back to that store. They were decorated all the way to the ceiling fans in red and green and trees and toys but yet the word Christmas was missing. Not to be found anywhere. How is it you can try to make a significant portion of your yearly income by selling Christmas presents, yet you're afraid to use the word Christmas. I think they're afraid of the contrast. That being the dark world lit up so brightly by a star over a small city a couple of thousand years ago.



Donna said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

You would have brought some sort of emotion (or commotion) out of your fellow shoppers (maybe not smiles) if you'd stood up and shouted, "Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas"... and then for good measure added, "And God bless America!!"
Happy Winter Season of Tinsel and Gifts to you and your family!!!

Peter said...


Lanny said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours! We take it very slow and quiet around here. Exuberent simplicity.

Jim said...

Merry Christmas, Cliff and Family!
Happy New Year too!

This is a great post. It makes us think about other's situations, and look a bit at our own also.

You have just reminded me of why I like living in Texas. Texans smile. I remember one time returning from one of my longer Midlands stay that my smile was returned as I was going into the welcome station in North Texas. I watched the family a bit and sure enough, they loaded into a car bearing Texas plates.

It is the unusual to not get a smile here. I don't know if we here are happier or it is just a remnant of Southern Hospitality that remains.

O well, :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), :), and :). Those smiles didn't huurt me at all, not even my two fingers which were holding down the 'Control' and 'V' keys. :)
BTW, I think your Christmas is going to be white according to our weather. Our weather will have the cold (30's to 50's) but no snow, maybe a half inch of rain tonight. :)

Billy, fresh from the London snows, is playing golf today (high around 70) but I have some other things to do.

Gette said...

Merry Christmas, Cliff. I've been going out of my way to be smiley and nice to people, especially the overwrought workers. We had to shop today, and I was pleasantly surprised at how many smiling shoppers and workers I saw, on this day that can be so hectic when people lose sight of the Prize.

Rachel said...

Merry Christmas to you and Marilyn!

Some folks around here do smile, but some do the self absorbed thing and never look at you.

Great post!!

JunieRose2005 said...

Merry,MERRY CHRISTMAS to you Cliff and Marilyn and all your family!

May we all have a great New Year in 2011!


Paul Nichols said...

Sorry...I got here late. Been b...b...b...busy.
Belated Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year, Cliff and Marilyn.

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