When I took the leap of faith to leave my full-time job to focus on my dissertation, I had some very specific ideas about what my going away party should look like.
- No talking about me. Folks could write down nice words in a book, but I felt that the circle up and say nice words was more appropriate for a funeral than a party. Its my party and I’ll not-cry if I want to (thank you very much).
- Normal snacks. I asked for pretzels with peanut butter and whatever other people would like. I have the palate of a 6-year-old, with the caffeine needs of a doctoral student, so pretzels and Diet Coke can sustain me for days.
- Invite anyone and everyone. My gift to these teammates was a break in the day. After 10 years working at the institution, I knew how much a breath in the busy meant.
- And last but not least: A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Yes, even though I left my job in February, I wanted to show a movie during the party. The start of the idea was thanks to a previous co-worker who shared an episode of the Office. So as I considered whether to take my leap or not, I also brainstormed what episode or short movie did I want to share. My original plan was Newsies, since it was the required movie for every sleepover I ever went to. However that one was a little too long for the party. And others might judge my Christian Bale adoration (I crushed on him long before Batman).
The decorations on my door from a previous year should have helped shorten the process. 🙂
This seemed like the perfect choice because A Charlie Brown Christmas is the perfect Christmas movie. It has everything: snow, ice skating, presents, cards, decorations, lights, dancing, singing, trees, ornaments, an existential crisis, and the meaning of the holiday shared as a simple truth (rather than a billboard over someone’s head). And I love that this movie, now over 50 years old, is still showed at least once every holiday season on broadcast television, with that truth as the story’s climax. After searching for days and asking everyone around him what this holiday is all about, Charlie Brown, and all of us, finds out on a darkened stage from Linus:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
It may be a little strange to be thinking about a Christmas movie with Easter Sunday just two days away, but also kind of perfect. Charlie Brown was trying to figure out what it was all about. So are we.
#52sparks is my year-long writing series based on an art prompt challenge. The title is inspired by a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron). The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. So just imagine what hundreds of inches and words can do.