Thursday, January 2, 2014

The White Shirt

Yesterday afternoon I sat in the space I happily term "my room." Though my children and husband do share it, I have claimed it. It holds an oak desk featuring items I treasure and my computer, along with a Queen Anne style chair that was my one special request when my grandmother passed. She received it from her father on her wedding day. It has been recovered once since I adopted it. My room also features some Paris Hat boxes which hold books I plan to read and yarn with patterns I plan to finish. Works in process or to be started. There is a blanket and journals where I pour my words, ideas, thoughts and hopes. Beside my chair is a small table -- an altar if you will -- where sits the study book of 2014, a pencil and pen, a Victorian style lamp and a card given to me by a dear friend ... It says one word, PEACE. Oh, and right now, my room features our Christmas Tree, covered in white lights and ornaments that tell quite a story.

As I sat in my chair in my room, I watched 2014 begin quietly, with lovely white flakes of snow dancing from the sky to cover my tiny backyard. My room has 14 windows so I had a terrific, unimpaired view of the heavens sending us a clean white slate to begin a new year. The snow fell quietly, without ceremony. It doesn't need to draw attention to itself like the rain does, all dramatic with heavy drops and featuring lightning and thunder. Not snow. It falls with unique iridescent fractals -- you know no two flakes are identical -- and blankets the ground silently. White. Pure.

I didn't play music or watch DVDs. I read  -- one fiction (a du Maurier classic for January) and one non-fiction book helped my literary focus expand for the new year -- and wrote my One Thing for 2014. I'd received an email challenge to create one specific idea or thought or area to focus on in the new year ... not a list of resolutions. But One Thing. So, as I gazed at the silence and enjoyed the quiet of my little space, I contemplated my "one thing" and found myself captivated by the white all around me.

See, I love to wear white. I have some beautiful white sweaters, white sparkly tops and white lace tops. I pair them with jeans or something black.  Once in a while I pair the white with creme, which is fun. As much as I enjoy pinks and bright colors, I am a big fan of white, especially -- for some reason -- in the winter.

With all the sweaters and dressy tops, I only have one white button down shirt. It requires ironing -- something I am woefully disinterested in doing. The only purpose for the iron in my opinion is its ability to steam my knitting projects. So, I launder my white button down shirt and let someone else maintain its crispness and nice pressed lines. Because I like it that way ... crisp, clean, pristine.

But my white shirt never stays crisp and neat. It gets wrinkled. I've spilled coffee on it. Just because I'm wearing white, I'm not necessarily stain-proof. The white shirt doesn't make me any less messy.  In fact, I find when I wear the white shirt that I choose to wear a black tank or t-shirt underneath it. The black offsets the pure white which never ends up remaining so pure white, crisp or perfect. My shirt is a little like me ... messy yet simple and stylish. Fitted nicely. Elegant and slightly complicated to maintain too. I have to admit it doesn't shimmer in whiteness. It's crumpled a bit. 

And as I gazed out at the snow yesterday, I knew that underneath that blanket of fluffy whiteness lay dirt and dead grass. That the snow had its own "black t-shirt" below the surface. Leaves and the dead plants that I neglected to pull from the front garden this fall could be found there. And though the snow looked so ideal and lovely at the moment when it fell, snow-plows and cars would add streaks of gray, turning up the dirt, slush, grass and gravel as they dig under the white to make way for workday traffic.

No matter how pure and white the snow appears, there are layers underneath that we don't see right off. We'd rather not. We like the iridescenceWe don't like messy. We like the pretty snow and then when it turns not-so-pretty we turn on it. We want it to go away. Or we just ignore it, no longer appreciating any of its former beauty or current style.We like things neat. Clean. Ordered. Predictable. White.

But, whether it's snow or my white shirt, things aren't that way all the time. Things get messy. But in their messiness, we can choose to see them for the beauty and unpredictability and imperfect charm that they still hold. These items can still Shine in their own way. They can still appeal to us ... they can still have a kind of beauty.

So as I sat in my room, I chose my one thing for 2014. I made my "resolutions" and set my face to the east. And no matter what comes my way, I will not give into the melodrama of the dirt and slush or the dead weight of gravel and dormant grass. I will not judge it. I will not hold onto it. For like the snow, it will melt away and move along if I only allow it to be. So my one thing for 2014 ... well, that's MY one thing. Up to you to reflect and choose your own now without hints from me.

So now that I've chosen my ONE Thing ... Mr de Mille ... I'm ready for my close-up and my spotlight. Just give me my chance to Shine and stand back. There's enough room in my light for you, if you choose to join me. It's time to truly see the wonder all around us ... charming and lovely with its own unique personality undeterred by change ... Iridescent in surprises. Never dull. But sometimes messy ...

What about you? It's your turn. What's your One Thing for 2014? 
                                                                                                                            -- Jenni