Today as my daughter and I put up our little Christmas tree and lights, I found myself thinking about people whose lives have been hard, who never seem to catch a break, who were raised in poverty, perhaps abused by a parent or other relative, maybe abandoned altogether. What are they doing to prepare for Christmas Day? Is anyone missing them?
Christmastime seems to bring us together and make us more aware of others, but there are still people who have no where to be, no one who is able to care. When my father was dying in 1999, they called from the hospital and said he had asked for me. For me, out of all his children. Could I come in a hurry, because he wouldn’t last long? My car, as seems to be my standard way, couldn’t make it over the mountain pass that separated him and I, so I said, “No, I can’t come.” I did send a letter by fax, which now seems pathetic, but it was the best I could do at the time.
I can’t imagine what happened to make him so sexual and sexist—all females were his targets. I’m older and wiser and could probably go if he was dying now—by bus—and simply ask him not to say those things to me. I do wish I knew more about his childhood—my mom’s, too. She’s still with us, but doesn’t like to talk about her youth. Life was hard on the WWII generation, and the generation before them. Women and children were to be seen, not heard, and could be treated in any way the men in their lives saw fit. Of course, it’s still like that in many places in the world and even here in the U.S. to some degree.
But we are growing-people, opening our minds and hearts to greater possibilities, to healing, to sharing life in such a way that at some point, every person on this planet will know what it means to be loved and cared for and in this way, learn to love and care for others. We don’t need a bazillion things, but we all need the basics: a loving family in a good home with food and water, clothing, a good education and opportunity. We do need a bazillion little encouragements and loves and hugs, though. We need to know that we matter and are valued for who we are.
So, if you have someone it’s hard to love this year, it’s okay. We can only do what we can do. But, if you can stretch a little beyond your comfort zone, you will have given that someone a little piece of a Christmas miracle and, when you look back years later, you will be very happy that you did.