You know those days where you are in a real funk and everyone knows it but you just don’t know why? I’ve had a few of those this past month.
What makes it worse is when your friends and family all try to help you “perk up” and it just doesn’t work. It’s like spinning your car tires in the ditch. You love them for their effort but only a snarl comes out when you say thank you.
When I was kid, I, like many kids my age, had a security blanket I would grab when things got bad. At first I would clutch it and put my thumb in my mouth. It wasn’t long afterward that my mom would find that blanket tucked into the back of my shirt as the Caped Crusader jumped off the bed to save the world.
During those times neither Mom nor Dad could make me feel better. I needed my blanket fix. Then the world became all right again.
I was in a real funk the other night and I made sure everyone else knew it. Our daughter, Lauren had enough of my pity party. She went into the other room, brought back a Santa hat, and put it on my head.
Confused, I asked, “What gives?”
She replied, “This is your happy hat, Daddy. You always seem to be happy when you wear this.”
You know that scene where Lucy is asking Schroeder to play Jingle Bells?
“That’s it!” I heard my inner-Lucy say.
Lauren had found my security blanket – the only thing that could elevate me above my best attempts to prolong the party. I didn’t know I had one, but she did. She perceptively noticed how it changed me. How could I possibly stay angry while the ultimate symbol of jolliness sat atop my head?
There are times when no amount of human intervention can help you change your mood or mindset. There are times when you really want to change from Oscar the Grouch to Batman but just can’t find a way to do it on your own.
A year ago I wrote that “our words give us permission to believe something.” I also believe that we all have some possession that gives us permission to be something different – our happy hat. It might be something that takes us back to a simpler time like a toy, or a token reminder of what our life is all about like a locket with our kids picture, or even something we can’t explain like a worry stone.
In a season where we are asked to believe that a man rides around guided by eight tiny reindeer and comes down a chimney, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to believe that we always have a need for a security blanket.
No matter how old you are, you need your own happy hat. My wish this season is that you find yours.
Ask your kids. I bet they know where it is.