Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Humble and Happy

I should not feel guilty.  There truly is nothing to feel guilty for.  So then why do I still harbor guilt?  See, it is my innate nature to feel guilt.  It has always been that way.  I would prefer that things be different, but it is a process and something I will be working on for a long time.  Anyway, it seems that with everyone going through hard times right now, I would be the only one around me who is trying to see the glass as still half full.  Now, I'm not a perpetual optimist, I just don't really see how dwelling on everything that we no longer have, or can no longer do will help any.

So, I received a string of phone calls and talked to half a dozen loved ones.  Usually, people are too busy to be bothered with calls more than 10 min.  But I was on the phone for almost five hours.  Yeah, I got nothing done yesterday, but at least I was there when they needed me.  I was the shoulder for the world, or so it seemed.  Usually, I'm alright with that.  Really, I am.  But as I was listening to my loved ones cry and vent and continue to stress out through these trying times, all I could do was listen.  I don't know any more than anyone else about what the economy is going to do next, or when more jobs will become available.  Yesterday was spent listening to them and encouraging them.  I listed things that they could see positively.  I reminded them that their kids are safe and healthy.  I don't have much money to offer them, after all, I too am struggling, but I did offer a beloved chicken or two if they ever need it, free babysitting is always available as well.  Just because the parents can't afford a night on the town, doesn't mean they can't have some alone time at home.

As I gently reminded them about all the things they still had, and how Christmas is not about expensive presents, I was reminding myself as well.  This is where the guilt comes in.  As I felt their pain, mine was lifted.  As I told them about all the good things in their lives, I was reminded of all the good things in mine.  I hung up the phone yesterday and prayed that they can see the good in their lives, because the bad could swallow them whole.  So I have guilt for feeling happy and thankful while they seem so miserable at the moment.  I can't very well thank them for uplifting me, even though I did not know that it was exactly what I needed.

The Holidays mean so much to so many people.  Unfortunately, there are many who subconsciously equate gifts with love.  I would much rather have someone bring me a loaf of fresh baked bread and spend some time.  For months, I've been talking to my children about "less is more".   I've began feigning excitement at the thought of them making gifts for the grown-ups.  Funny thing is, I'm actually getting excited about it now.  They are making lists of things that they want to try to make, and even if I help them most of the way, if it is feasible, then we will try.  I'm happy to be getting away from the commercialism of the Holidays and of life in general.  There has been increasing amounts of pressure and stress surrounding Christmas.  How do we out do the year before.  It's not spoken, but the feeling is there.  Now, it is obvious that this is not going to be the most prosperous Holiday.  We will all do what we can and focus on people instead of things.

I am grateful for my children's health and happiness.  They can find joy in nothing and everything and I hope every day to absorb some of that fascination with the world.  People are so afraid of letting their kids down, but it takes an awful lot to do just that.  The only way to do that is to not try.  We can't give up hoping things will get better and we can't dwell on how bad things have gotten.  Things can always be worse, and perception can make things feel a lot better.  Kids take on the views of their parents.  Even stubborn kids eventually hop on board.  Last Christmas, we put up our decorations, and I thought it was all lovely.  Then, while watching the movie Elf, the kids went nuts to see the store full of paper snowflake's.  So, of course, we spent the rest of that afternoon making what seemed like hundreds of paper snowflakes.  They loved it.  Even my oldest, who really didn't want to be bothered, got excited as he volunteered to put them up all over the house.  They didn't let me take those things down until long after the Christmas tree was gone.  Wouldn't you know, that a few days ago it was my oldest who asked me if we could make more paper snowflakes this year.  Of course, my answer was a teary-eyed "we sure can".  They boy actually did a little jig.

Yeah, I think that everything will be fine so long as we make the best of it.  Humble and Happy, it's a good place to start.

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