This holiday season happens to be a very special one. In some respects, I don’t want to nor do I deserve to celebrate it. It is because of those fateful days, June 29th, 30th and July 1st that makes me think the way I am. After all, isn’t it suppose to be a time where friends and family get together to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Festival of Lights or Kwanzaa and, share in the celebration?
As I look back at thirty some odd years, however long I have known Steph, I come to realize that this holiday season is very different from the others.
The pile of presents under the tree is like we haven’t finished wrapping all of the presents. That is partially due to the fact that I am among the masses of unemployed, a victim of the current recession and downturn of the economy. I remember years ago, perhaps as far back as the 80s how I used to compete with my brother-in-law (Steph’s twin sister’s husband) for the mostest, biggest, bestest presents in the entire family. I mean, it would take days and days to shop and, hours and hours to wrap.
I think back in those days we spent over $500 dollars just to heap bribery after bribery onto the kids with hopes they would behave their best for the coming year. Ha! We would be lucky if we got 36 hours of haloed behavior out of them. Or, I would be tickled thrilled that Steph “loved” her gifts. Or better yet, I would pretend the “OH WOW…these are the best presents I could ever get!” attitude.
Then came that fateful moment on the floor of the bathroom and the ensuring moments. Nothing could have prepared me for that…NOTHING! In the midst of it all, the EMTs thought I had a stroke. It wasn’t till an hour later in the ER when the diagnosis of “mild heart attack” came back. I looked at Steph and was all like “Did you hear that? I had a (bleeping) heart attack!? You gotta be kidding me!”. (see Dead Rabbits and Pixie Dust)
In the following months, as I was recovering I had a new found faith in that there was some external workings behind all this. And like many of us, became a believer. Gone was the stress of worrying, the arrogancy, the rough and raw, the me-me. In place, a more gentle, kinder, and softer person.
It really took fifty some odd years to realize that life shouldn’t be taken for granted. That we live for today. That we should be grateful for what we have. That whatever happens, happens…we’ll just be prepared and deal with it when it happens.
During the course of this year, I met and saw scores of beautiful people. From my fellow CI mentors and all of the wonderful folks at Advanced Bionics and the Bionic Ear Association. To all of those who I have IMed, emailed and finally got to meet in person in Nashville. To the countless number of CI candidates by email and in person. Two very special angels. To one very precious 11 year older. To all of my dead rabbits (who were suddenly revived) and fellow runners at Checkers AC. The 50-54ers and 55-59ers. The dinner crowd. My extended family. “Zero to 200 in nothing” and his beautiful wife. Mom, Ellen, Tom, Julie/Russ and their kids, Josh/Giosi and their kids, cousins Neal, Jeffrey, Evelyn, Leon. And of course, Steph, Mike and Dan.
I have come to realize that above all of this, the greatest gift we can give is LOVE. It doesn’t cost anything. Anyone can give it. There is no limit to how much you can give. And you can give it in any which way you want. So to each and every one of you, in speaking from my repaired heart please accept my gratitude and thanks for your tremendous outpour of support. And in return, accept my LOVE and wishes for a very wonderful Happy Holidays!
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13