Seeing my future self… A Christmas Carol moment
by Holly Varni
December 30, 2014

I was sitting at a Castings Crown concert with my thirteen year old son, completely mesmerized by what was in front of me and it had nothing to do with the musicians. Don’t get me wrong, the concert was wonderful. As fans of the group, we have attended one of their concerts before. We were anticipating a great night on our special “date,” leaving dad with his two other brothers at home.

We even had an action plan to ensure a terrific evening. We got seats on the higher level so tall adults wouldn’t block his view, which happened the last time. Surrounding us were hords of college students. We smiled at each other as it got to show time and saw that the two seats directly in front of us were empty.

The lights dimmed and as the first notes of the music began, an elderly woman with what appeared to be her daughter rushed in and sat in the two empty seats. No biggie. She was the size of my son, so he was relieved. I was happy because suddenly I didn’t feel so old in the youthful crowd.

What on earth was a woman in her late seventies doing at a rock concert?

The stage lights blared, the sound was turned up to a deafening roar and the concert was in full swing. Everyone stood with their eyes on the band below and that’s when it began… this tiny, elderly woman with a short pixie cut and bobbly earrings, began to dance. Lifting her arms, waving to the beat of the music, she appeared to be the most excited person in the auditorium.

She knew the lyrics to every song, and belted out every word not caring what her voice sounded like. Forget the wrinkles and white hair, her spirit was ageless. Glancing to my sides and behind me, I saw that all of the college students were staring at her as well, studying her as if she was this strange phenomenon. They were watching her instead of the concert and grinning at her unbridled, pure, and absolute joy.

This woman sparkled. She radiated, beamed and shown more brightly than the performers on stage. Wrapping her arm around her daughter, who also had white hair and had to be in her fifties, she squeezed her in a bear hug. Then everyone’s mouths dropped open when she took out her cell phone and snapped a selfie with her daughter. A selfie!!!

I leaned over to my son and whispered, “I want to be her when I grow up.”

I knew that I wanted to remember her, to write about her. Initially, I was going to title this, “The Be-Boppin’ Hip-Happenin’ Granny,” but then realized that what I carried away from the experience went much deeper than seeing a grandma with spunk.

Her presence at the concert gave me a peek into what the future could hold. My future.

I think we live snippets of the Christmas Carol all the time. That famous holiday story where Ebenezer Scrooge gets to step outside of time and visit the past, present and future. Dickens’ tale has endured because of the lessons it reveals.

How often do we all recall mistakes of the past, replaying the embarrassing and bad moments in our head. Those never seem to fade away. Then there is the present, where we are working so hard. Every day is filled with lists and packed schedules. Why? So that the future can be good, so that someday we can relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

But in thinking about the future, I never stop to consider who I’ll be or what I’ll be like.

I am not done evolving. My story is not complete. This woman reminded me that there is still time to grow and become who I want to become.

The future is not a hope or a dream, it is something you create.

My Christmas Carol moment? It wasn’t in the form of a dream. It didn’t happen in a brief moment. I had two hours to absorb, think about, delight and smile at what I saw, at what I wanted to be. It was a luxury to have that much time to memorize what it looks like to live so fully and free, and to reverberate infectious energy.

I’ve searched for a word that could capture a glimmer of what this woman possessed and came across “jubilant.” Its synonyms are, “Rejoicing, exultant, triumphant, on top of the world, overjoyed, elated, exhilarated, and blissful.” That’s it, she was jubilant.

With hips swaying, she danced the entire concert. Even when people two generations younger sat down, she remained standing. Even when her middle aged daughter sat down, she reached her arms higher. All surrounding eyes were fixated on her experiencing the concert.

When leaving, my son took my hand and held it as we walked out together. “That woman was so happy,” I said.

“Yeah.” He knew who I was referring to without explanation. “You could be her,” he replied.

I smiled. That’s the whole point of the Christmas Carol, the story is not over for any of us.

I could be her. I could become anyone.

That’s the gift we all are given.