A friend texted me, “Merry Christmas. We must get together after the Holidays.” Given the mere fact I haven’t heard from this friend in ion’s, instinctively I know this ‘get together’ would never happen as I returned a non-committal, “Merry Christmas.” I originally titled this post as ‘Last Christmas.’ After I received my friend’s text, I changed it, for I don’t, in fact, really know if, in fact, this is my last Christmas or not. I have been told Christmas 2020 would be my last Christmas, but does anyone know for sure? I mentally affirmed that message as the left side of my chest pained me. Hell, I haven’t even gotten up yet. I reached for the Lisinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide, and a small dose of Inderal. Feel renewed thirty-minutes later, as if nothing occurred, I got up and got moving. Of course I know the damage is still there, but it’s Christmas.
I have no Christmas tree, no decorations, no carols in the snow, no gifts. Like many others this COVID Holiday, I spend Christmas alone. And I wonder. I wondered if I led any form of a good life, a life worth being proud of. And to be honest, I think all of us need to be reminded of all the goodness we have brought forth. Often we get too wrapped up in what we have done wrong- without looking at what we have done right. Like others, I gave much. I cannot say I have given more than many, even up to the greatest sacrifice (life) for another, but I have worth. This Christmas, I think Christ would remind me (us) that I wasn’t (we weren’t) complete losers. I think there is a lot God would claim, “Well done.”
When I was a kid, I used to think that some form of cancer, tumor, or leukemia would nab me and wrest from me. A couple decades of maturity and having worked in healthcare these past fourteen years, there’s an incurable truth that one of six key diseases will kill most ( see Falling Through The Cracks). There’s no denying our lack of power. But I also believe this knowledge, and the knowledge of my own fragility, makes us a better person, a better nation. I believe I (we) am (are) nearer to God and has forced me (us) to see the beauty surrounding me. Thus, as Christmas Day plus one comes and goes, all of the pain has taught me (us) that I’ve (we’ve) come out ahead. Yeah, I (we) am (are) forever altered, as disease does that. But I (we) remain alive. I (we) remain intact.
If asked whether I should have chosen a life of tremendous successes with tremendous failures versus the more balanced nine-to-five job, I chose the former. Reflecting all my adventures, I think I would make that choice again. If I don’t, I would never be the person I am today. I think what God taught me these past several months is that a life worth living is one imbued with both success and failure, joy and sorrow, relief and suffering. What God reminds during this holiday is that all of us (me) missed on many occasions was purpose, passion and courage to not to pointlessly hurt one another, to toil in pointless jobs, and to endure a loveless marriage. I ventured forth and explored an unknown world. I took chances and enriched my soul. I loved, I lost. I still love, and still lose. Such is the nature of this world. Yet, ying/yang (love/loss) is the hallmark of a good life and the criteria by which I wish my life to be judged.
God asks us to live enriched lives. Are we willing to be changed? I have nothing against corporate leaders, though I question one man’s worth should he claim he requires 20 million or more a year in compensation. But I believe there are more spiritual lives in the lowly than in Washington, D.C.. An old rabbi was once asked why so few people were finding God. He wisely replied that people are not willing to look that low. Jesus was born in a stable, and is sure sign God is especially concerned for the poorest, the lowliest, the lost, and the neglected.” [From Liberation of Life by Harvey and Lois Seifert – quoted in A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.] Most of us feel lost and neglected. But I know He’s there. He’s there.