A few weeks back, when I was feeling down, I found something to lift my spirits a little. I read The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon. It’s a sweet (fiction) story about the man who works as the curator for Rockefeller Center in New York City. One of Richard’s jobs is to choose the Christmas tree that will be displayed. One year, his search for the perfect tree sends him to rural New Jersey where he meets a very special person. Sister Anthony teaches him many things about Christmas and about himself. It is her decision whether or not Richard will be allowed to take his perfect tree.
Back in 1996, the book was converted into a made-for-TV special. I remember having seen it when it came out, but before I picked up the book, I hadn’t remembered much of the story. So, upon my mother’s recommendation, I started reading the book. The story is rather short and very easy to read. But it’s the way the book is written that caught my attention – the descriptions of nature are so real, I easily found myself lost inside the book. And the way Sister Anthony interprets the world gave me a new way to look at my situation. It made me a little less sad.
Right about the time I started reading this, we got a new Keurig machine at work. I don’t have one at home. I probably (at least for now) won’t get one for home. But I use it every day at work. A fresh cup of coffee made just for me, the way I like it – that makes me happy too.
So during this difficult time, one of my favorite times of the day was my lunch break – I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down to read. Every day, I found myself looking forward to reading a little more, learning a little more about Richard and Sister Anthony, and escaping my own worries if only for an hour. As silly as it may sound, these two things – this book and this coffee – kept me sane for one of the hardest weeks I’ve ever experienced in my life. For that hour, I was in a world of Sister Anthony’s making and I liked being there.
Today, while on my lunch break, while making my coffee, I realized that every day since I finished the book, I have thought about it while making my lunch time coffee. For me, the two go together. I have since finished a second book and started a third. And these have also been read during lunch while drinking my coffee. But the feeling is not the same. I’m missing whatever it is that The Christmas Tree brought me, something I can’t quite put my finger on. The fact that I’m still thinking about that story, several weeks later, means that it really stuck with me. I will have to get my own copy of the book so that I can revisit it every Christmas season.
In the meantime, I can revisit it every day in my own way. It’s my little piece of heaven during hectic work days. It’s also a calm and quiet place to visit when my anxiety and sadness get the better of me. Just thinking about Richard, Sister Anthony, and this unique story makes me happy. The coffee helps too.