" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

December 15, 2010

Have Faith

Winter Path
The other day I went to get a haircut. My regular stylist wasn't working and you know how it is. You need your haircut now, RIGHT NOW, when you're at that point.  So I took a chance on someone else. She had a likeable, quirky personality, dark red hair, and a way with a unique turn of phrase.  In her wonderful youth she was describing how she LOVED this time of year. "EVERYONE is so happy and excited and it's fun," she exclaimed.

I didn't say anything when she made that comment.  I was marvelling at the statement. Half of my thoughts were steeped in admiration. The other half  felt like someone had just run their fingers down a blackboard in my disbelief at her level of naivety. 

Her impression is certainly not mine given where I work.  Every day I'm reminded to be careful of the assumptions I make. I try really hard. I fail often.  I keep trying. At this time of year it's critical.

The commercialization of Christmas and especially the expectations related to family and a sense of belonging reach a crescendo that can be unbearable for so many people. It's especially true for  those who are struggling just to shelter and feed themselves and for those whose familial relationships may have long ago been broken.

What if you were alone? What if you were 95 and your life-long love was long gone as were all your friends? What if all you had were your memories?  What if you had to stand in a food bank line-up for two hours to get the kind of food to feed your children that wasn't adequate?

If you have your health, a partner, some connection to a family and friends, a job, and a decent place to live, then you are blessed. If you've never had to handle a significant crisis in your life, stop and inhale gratitude. If you have and you've overcome and thrived, recognize such a major accomplishment.

Spend just a very quiet moment considering what Christmas would mean to the person who didn't have any of that.  I can tell you it would be a reminder of their failures at every turn.

Be careful. Be sympathetic. Be willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt. Consider kindness a conscious act more than ever at this time of year hoping you can remind yourself better to carry such understanding throughout the year.

And, when you've done that, turn away from such overwhelming sadness. Go inside your heart and take the hot little hand of you the child. Remember when just seeing a Christmas tree and twinkly lights drenched your entire being in wonder and rightness. Admire the complexity of the human spirit and its ability to overcome and rise again.


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