After a weekend of baking, wrapping, prepping and decorating - this morning brought the part of this holiday flutter I loathe the most - the shipping.
No matter how you plan, schedule and get your logistical "A-game" going...there is nothing to prepare you for the despair that is the line at the post office. It's been rainy in Austin this week, that veil of clouds and misty rain helped to further frame the dread.
I had about 25 inidividual little items to send out...and after standing in line at the automated shipping kiosk, I began to have some low scale anxiety about the reactions of people behind me when they actually saw how many items I needed to post and ship. About mid way through, I began to hear loud audible sighs and heavy shuffling of feet. I looked down in my bag, and saw a dozen more to go. Dare I continue on, or take a break. My inner panic-bot said, "QUICK, GET OUT OF THE WAY BEFORE THEY BEGIN SHOOTING ARROWS AT THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD!" And...I complied. I walked back around to the back of the line, and opted to wait for another twenty minutes, to complete my shipping.
I pondered people at that point, and how they behave during the holiday. I try really hard to be upbeat and positive with people during this time of year, but the reality is...most of us are feeling some kind of tension, fatigue or annoyance with trying to keep up with commitments we swore we weren't going to replicate...but somehow did.
Even those of us hellbent on holiday cheer start sneering when attempting to ward off the grumpy energy of hundreds of people around us.
I scowled in that line, annoyed with people, annoyed with their general impatience and their audible protestations over things that really aren't that awful.
Finally at my turn (again) at the kiosk, I raced through my remaining packages. As I turned to storm off into a rainy day, my eyes caught the gaze of an older lady waiting in the line behind me. She whispered, "Merry Christmas," and gave me the sweetest smile.
In that instant, everything in me melted and I beamed back at her. "Thank you. Merry Christmas to you, too." It's what I said. But my heart added a quiet, "thank you." To her, and whatever sweet spirits heard my pleas for kindness.
That little moment will probably be the sweetest gift I remember from this season. And you know what? I'm incredibly satisfied with it.