Monday, December 25, 2006

The Day Before Christmas

Today I had the Christmas spirit. I just willed myself to have it - that happy spirit that puts a smile on your face, temporarily erases all the worries about how screwed up the world is, makes you appreciate your friends, and renews your confidence that God has something good in mind for us when we die. Maybe it will last through tomorrow...I hope so.

It's been a busy day. I volunteered at the ambulance overnight, but we had no calls so I got to sleep, rather poorly. Came home, showered, choir at 9:45, church at 10:30. It was a great Christmas pageant, and everyone who came in the door was offered some kind of costume item - hat, halo, crown, maybe even a robe or some kind of shawl. As the pageant went on, people from the congregation came forward and became part of it. Sounds crazy, but it went over great. All the kids were smiling, and the adults got infected with the good humor. My religion is pretty informal, but one thing I'm pretty sure of is that God loves to hear people laugh for the right reasons.

Then off to the ambulance again, as the medic from 12-3. Looked at a kid's sprained thumb and sent him home with his dad and three ice packs. Went to a home where an older man was having some serious heart and memory problems, and I gave him over to a paramedic for transport to the hospital. Then I took a non-emergency call to verify a death. It turned out I knew the family and was able to help them deal with it, since the older man certainly was dead of a terminal disease. He was the fifth dead person I've had to deal with in the past month, which is an unusually high number. Death is no stranger to me anymore; it's just what happens when we get old, if we're lucky enough to get old. It doesn't take a time out for Christmas.

My oldest son, who is divorced and lives in Detroit, arrived here last night around dinnertime. Late this afternoon we saw "The Good Shepherd", a very dark movie about the C.I.A. The movie was rather slow and confusing, and it made me happy I never wanted to be a spy. Following the movie, we came home and assembled a "luminario" (candles inside paper bags) in my small trailer in the garage. Then we went to the church and placed them up and down the driveways and lit the candles. It was a beautiful sight, since the church was also nicely lit up on the outside. Then home for a quick dinner with the long-suffering wife.

The 9:00 church service, where I also sang in the choir, was packed. The family I had helped in the afternoon was there, and I spoke to the widow again. The minister had good words to say, and lots of people participated in various ways. For some reason the spirit was especially good tonight...maybe it was just rebound from all the troubles of 2006, but it felt so good!

Three couples of long time friends came over to our home after church, and they stayed until almost midnight. We drank a fair amount of wine (I fixed one guy a potent Manhattan, too), ate some scrumptious desserts, and never once discussed a serious subject - a miracle! I have found after 62 years of life that there are few things in life more precious than long term friends. I can be "me" and not have to worry about it. I can hug them all, and be hugged back with a certain firmness that says "I love you." We are family after all these years.

That was the day before Christmas, a long day of responsibilities and accomplishments, focus on God's great gift of life, seeing a period attached to the sentence of another's life, and confirming relationships that add so much meaning to my life. The Christmas spirit provided a burst of energy that somehow sustained me all the while. It's great to have a 100% good day, and that's what this one was.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! To all who stumble across this humble blog!

1 comment:

Nicole said...

What a nice post.

You are correct, life would be nothing without the love of our good friends and family, and after awhile it becomes hard to distinguish the two!! :)

Cheers and all the best to you for 2007