I used to love Christmas, and I mean the real spirit of Christmas. I love buying gifts for people that I think they may really enjoy. I love the music and passion of the holidays. I love the food, of course.
The last twenty-four years, Christmas has become harder and harder for me to enjoy. It started when I divorced my first husband and my oldest wanted to stay with his Dad in Virginia. I moved to California in order to survive raising my other three children. My parents gave me tremendous support. My oldest was afraid his father would be out of sight out of mind toward his kids, and he was. He didn’t want to lose his father.
Then ten years ago, my youngest son passed away on November sixteenth. It was and still is sometimes too hard to bear. Now my children are grown up, married, and have beautiful children, and they live in Florida. Too say I miss them would be an understatement. Sometimes, especially at Christmas, it is absolute agony. I cannot begin to tell you how hard it is for me to not have my kids close by.
Right now, they are not thrilled with me. Families have their moments. I pray this will pass, and we can come together united.
Because of the things that have happened the last twenty-four years, sometimes, this time of the year I sink into depression. I tell you this because I know I am not the only one that has suffered tragedy and painful moments in life. All of us have a cross to bear.
I even made the statement to my husband and my close friends that I hate Christmas. That is not true. I love Christmas. I celebrate Christ’s birth because I have deep faith in Christ. I simply hate not having my children and grandchildren nearby, sharing our lives, and the holidays together.
These last few days, my depression toward the holidays lifted. I was listening to a morning radio show, Magic 92.5 here in San Diego. Jagger and Christie feature a segment where people e-mail them asking them to grant Christmas wishes for those truly in need in their lives. A woman e-mailed a story about her friend who had lost her job, car broke down, and her home burnt down leaving her and her twenty-six year old disabled son homeless with absolutely nothing left saved from the fire. Jagger and Christie were able to find wonderful people who donated a Christmas tree, Christmas dinner, clothes and toiletries and $1500.00 to help this woman and her son.
I know you are thinking that’s all fine and well, but where are they going to serve Christmas dinner, and where are they going to put the tree with no place to live. Sycuan generously stepped up and offered a bungalow on their resort for one month and included all their meals. I have to tell you I cried all the way to work.
A stranger, a woman, listening, called in and offered two hundred dollars of money she had saved to go visit her brother who is sick. So generous, and so kind.
The next morning there was another story about a woman about to be evicted. She had three boys and the economic times had hit her hard. She told her boys there would be no Christmas. The money had to go toward the rent. She even asked her landlord if she could scrub and clean other apartments to make up for the rent. Again Jagger and Christie arranged for a Christmas tree, a four pack to Disneyland, and her rent paid for the month.
This morning my sister and I were talking. She told me she had lunch with her ex-boss the day before and had a wonderful time. She told me Kathy had married almost two years ago, and her new husband; Mike had suffered an illness from contaminated water that has caused him severe brain damage. They are fighting to bring his abilities back.
People, we all have problems, but our problems are first world problems, not third world problems. If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, are healthy, and the people you love are healthy and well, then count your blessings. Lift the depression we sometimes get over the holidays and rejoice that you have good things to be grateful for in you life.
Life is not easy, nor is it always fair. Remember, there is always someone that has it worse. And when you are the one going through whatever that causes others to be grateful for their lives, know you are not alone and will get through it. There are people out there willing to help.
I once heard the best way to get rid of depression, and I mean true depression, is too help someone else. Volunteer to help those in need. Do something for someone that you know won’t ask, but really needs help. I guarantee you will feel better, and your depression will be lifted.
No matter whether or not you are religious, no matter whether you have faith in a higher power or you have faith in yourself, it doesn’t matter, but please, I am asking everyone who reads this message to take a moment, every day, to pray or send out positive energy to those in need, and to take another moment to list to yourself, quietly and reverently, all your blessings. Be grateful for the blessings in your life.
We are in this life together. We can make a difference. Small changes add up to large rewards. Aaron has got it right. We can make a difference for both ourselves and those around us by doing simple things. Look around you and see whom you might
be able to help. Even lending an ear, sending a card, donating your time or your dime. It will make a difference. I wish you all well.
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.