Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas. Count Your Blessings Today

In December of 2005, my life was falling apart. My marriage had crumbled to dust and my ex had already started to move on. I was stuck living in a town where I had no family, few friends and nobody I could trust. The ex and I managed to pull it together enough to give our kiddo a very nice Christmas, but after the frantic morning of present opening, I found myself sitting with my daughter in a now empty house just zoning out as "It's A Wonderful Life" flickered across the tv screen. No family around to wear out their welcome, no friends around to guzzle down my last beer, and no dinner to come back to haunt me in the wee hours of the morning. If felt wrong. So, I decided to do something about it.

I scooped my daughter up, put her in the car, and drove to one of the local churches. They were having a Christmas dinner in the basement. I hardly knew anybody there, and the people I did know were all too aware of my circumstances and kept shooting me "Aww, poor guy" looks. I felt like I was eating at a homeless shelter. Even though I had my daughter with me and there were people all around me, I couldn't remember a time when I had felt more alone. And that's when I took out a pen and some scrap paper and decided to count my blessings.

I won't list them all, but among the things I am lucky to have is a wonderful daughter, a small but close immediate family, a good job, a warm house, and a comfy bed. I reminded myself that I never had to worry about where my next meal would be coming from, nor did I have to worry about where I would be spending the night and whether or not I would be able to stay warm and dry. Many people in this world spend Christmas wishing that they had these things.

With that, I scraped off my place, picked my daughter up, thanked everyone around me and wished them well, and then headed back home. We didn't need the traditional Christmas dinner. We'd be making our own Christmas traditions from then on.

I still have the list. I had it laminated a few days after I made it. I take it out every so often to remind myself that, no matter how bad it is, it could be a lot worse.

Merry Christmas.

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