mardi, décembre 27, 2011

What I really wanted for Christmas

As soon as the holiday was over, perhaps even a minute after midnight (who knows?) our inboxes were flooded with a new set of online advertisements.

One of them, from Road Runner Sports, cajoled me into saving 56% on what I "REALLY wanted for Christmas."

Which REALLY pissed me off.

Getting and spending we lay waste our powers, indeed.

We'd just gone through a consuming frenzy in our house. One child was grateful, the other accepted it as her due (that's another story). After a brief conversation with their father over spending limits, I had meekly given in.

Meanwhile, all over America, one in four kids went to bed hungry.

Did I want to spend MORE money because I felt ungrateful for what I'd been given?

Heck, no.

Yet the gaudy ad (and, I admit, a need for new running shoes) did force me to consider what I really, truly, did want for the New Year.

And here it is, in no particular order. The identity of putative receivers are disguised to protect their anonymity.

I want a friend, adopting a son from a country torn apart by violence, to have him arrive in her loving home soon. Each day without him weighs on her spirit.

I hope for the gift of time and presence for her friend, a young father with four children, fighting a terrible disease. Though I don't know them, they were never far from my thoughts and prayers this holiday.

I'd like the weight of a year of losses to lift from another friend's heart this year, leaving them with peace and wonderful memories.

A dad to have his daughter stay out of the hospital, visits which produce fear and near-death escapes.

For a friend whose quest for love has led them to compromise, I would sprinkle the fairy dust of self-respect. There is more -- so much more.

And for another, lost in a wilderness in which there appears to be no exit, I would light the candles of faith, hope and charity. Faith in the future, hope for winning the battle, and charity towards a self that is bruised and scarred but nonetheless dear.

For me? I'd love to see the New Year bring a healthier relationship with a daughter from whom I feel estranged. I'd like to be less sensitive to slights, real or not-real.

And that's just for starters, a few dives into the themes that crowd my consciousness...but I don't want to be greedy. And I also admit the possibility that, when it comes to my friends, I am wrong in my wishes.

I'm sure you have your own lists, dear friends.

This year, let's try to match up what what we really want with the relationships where we put our insight, energy and emotion.

Then we can blithely ignore those stupid ads, knowing that whatever they say we REALLY need...we know better.

THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; 10
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
W. Wordsworth, 1806

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