Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday on Whidbey Island

The Beach at Oak Harbor on a beautiful Black Friday
Every year, since Chris and Jason were young enough to need a reward for being "good at grandma's house," Ray and I have built a tradition of getting out to have fun with our family on what we used to call Black Friday. I say used to call it black friday because the meaning has changed. Back in the day, black friday meant that we did not shop or indulge in materialism the day after giving thanks to YHVH-God for all he has provided for us. It was also our reward for our restless sons who had abandoned their overalls and barn boots to dress nice and use the table manners we practiced at home, at grandma's table. They would rather have been out with the wild things. Now Black Friday just means that merchants are in the black on the Friday after Thanksgiving (if they are willing to wait that long) because of America's need to camp in a parking lot so that they can be the first of the crowd to fight for one of five discounted TV's.

Deb and Rudy Valentine at Fort Casey
 I digress; we made a picnic of turkey sandwiches and pie, grabbed our cameras, GPS's, dogs and winter jackets for a trip to Whidbey Island to go geo-caching and birding.

Bomber and Rudy
Please do not get me wrong. I am not against Christmas. Jason and Ray have promised to put up lights for me this weekend. Chris has been shopping. As I keyboard I am sipping my morning joe from one of my Christmas mugs. What I am against is the wild materialism that never brings lasting joy.
Christmas cookies are fun to make and give away. Dressing up in reds, greens and bright blues, accessorised with goofy socks, santa hats and gaudy flashing light jewelry is fun for me. That is a lot for someone who does not officially celebrate Christmas. I love my children and family and participate with them on a day that has deep meaning and precious memories. But do I think the Messiah was born in a manger on December 25? Not even!
The Olympics from Fort Casey
What is Black Friday to me? It is a day to spend with people we love, doing what we love. A day to extend our attitude of Thanksgiving, not just for our health, what we have, or what we have survived in the past year. It has become a day to show our love to each other. We bring our imperfect love with our sandwiches and spend a day outside of the house, away from our screens. We are far from being a perfect family. Ray and I parented by the seat of our pants. Our poor boys have had to struggle and adjust to our dysfunction. But we love each other. We are all for one, one for all even though each of us needs our space on occasion. Black Friday reminds us to come out of our corner (maybe more accurately, to come out from behind our screens), without TV, without gifts, to simply share a meal, listen, and play.

Ray tucks Rudy into his jacket to give him relief from the cold wind

Black Friday seems to make the upcoming holiday season all the more precious. Ray and I celebrate Channakua. Chris has a child like delight in the "magic" he can make for Christmas. He loves being Santa at events. As a fireman-EMT and a emergency room worker, he sees enough horror to permanently mess up his attitude toward humanity. But he still loves to spread joy to those around him. Jason does not really love or hate Christmas. He indulges friends and family with gifts whenever he is able but would rather not get up early to go visit extended family or even open gifts. All Ray and I know for sure is we love our Y'shua-Jesus and are grateful for these boys YHVH has loaned to us.

One of the tiny little Whidbey Island Black Tails
We talked, we laughed, we saw things we have seen so many times before. We walked trails we have walked before. We marveled at the change and took comfort at everything being the same. We loved. We renewed our hearts and stretched our legs. We felt the wind on our faces and watched children fly their kites in the same wind, on the same grass that we have flown kites on, the very place my parents took me and my brothers to fly kites. Maybe for their Christmas and Ray's Hanukkah I will buy everyone a kite. Maybe I'll just print pictures. No one can go back in time, even with a kite on a windy day.
Rudy and Bomber after a long day.

As long as YHVH gives me the strength I will spend Black Friday in the car, going someplace where we only have to buy gas, to eat turkey sandwiches, to remember a fresh how much I love my boys and my man. Life has been known to throw some stones at us. We have come close to breaking again and again. But always we find that under it all are the everlasting, loving hands of YHVH. No one knows what a day will bring. Buying gifts, wrapping them in pretty paper to be ripped open by a loved one brings a moment of happiness. Nothing wrong in that. But joy comes from hearts connecting. And maybe, at the end of the day, sitting quietly together, tired but satisfied, taking the same ferry ride back home that we have taken hundreds of times before. Remembering that contentment is an inside job, not something that I can buy for someone else.

Happy Holidays (said the old woman who doesn't celebrate Christmas but who does celebrate)


  1. What a perfect day. I think the holidays have been reduced to nothing more than mindless consumerism. To go out and enjoy our lovely world and reflect on and count our blessings is closer to the true spirit of the time.

  2. Rainsong,

    Thanks to YHWH for this post. It is so full of what life is and what it ought to be for all. I rejoice in your spirit and Thank YHWH for your balanced view on things. It is so refreshing to read your posts! Shalom in Yahshua to you and your loved ones.

    ps check out this clip. I think you'll like it.