And I resolve this year shall dissolve
In the glass of tomorrow's champagne.
My hurts and triumphs stirred
Into a sparkling future heard.
Oh sweet solution!
Here's the toast
My bold new boast:
Not one, but two times
Shall we dance in rhymes
With old Robby Burns in tow.
Our festivities show
Our hearts for all to see.
Take my hand, my love
Lift your glass high above!
Come drink and dance with me!
"And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. "
But save the deepest draught for times to come.
Happy New Year!
This is always an interesting time of year for me. It is the time of year when I get to see the best and worst of human beings. At work we do something called, "Christmas Adoption." We begin taking applications in October to match up families with need to families, churches, and corporations who wish to bless others.
In December, we begin the distribution. I must tell you that I live in a community that astonishes me with its generosity over and over again. Each child is allowed to ask for 3 gifts. Often it is the parent who gives us that wish list. We explain that there is no guarantee that the child will receive the exact gifts requested. All we ask our donors is that they provide age-appropriate gifts. They also put together a basket of food for the family and a gift card for a turkey or ham.
Most recipients are touched. Some even cry as they look at the abundance of giving.
But there are always those few - the inappropriate few. I have been cursed, threatened, and personally insulted because a recipient looks at other groupings of gifts and believes they have been "short-changed."
A quote from today was, "You better find somebody else to do your job because you can't do it right." What was her complaint? Her child didn't receive a bicycle and she saw bicycles there for other children. Mind you, the child had no request for a bike, only "sport things." And as she was cursing me over her shoulder, she was carrying out a huge new basketball goal and beautiful sports gifts to place in her truck.
The years that I have done this work, which is truly the job of my dreams, have never quite calloused me to ingratitude and its many ugly faces. I try to focus on keeping my jaw from unhinging.
I helped that lady with her basket of food. When she finally paused for air, I said, "You're welcome" while looking into her eyes. I tried not to say it with an edge in my voice. I tried to mean the "Merry Christmas" I followed with. to her credit, she paused a minute and seemed to actually see me for the first time. I wish I could say she apologized, gave an excuse for her behavior, or returned the well-wishing, but she didn't. she just paused that funny way for a few seconds, then exhaled and climbed into the cab of her truck. I stood outside and watched her drive off, enjoying the cold breezes a moment.
There are many poverties, and poverty of the soul is the saddest one for me to encounter. It's easy to feed someone or pay a bill. How do you touch a dark heart? The following was written on the wall of Mother Theresa's Children's Home in Calcutta. I am going to have it written on our Center's wall as well:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
"All I said was 'cheese muff'."
You are gorgeous to me.
Beautiful and flooded
With Renaissance light
And gentle, careful brush strokes.
You are the art of a Master
And I will always cherish you,
My dear, dear friend.
I had a difficult day today. My son had one more surgery in an ongoing list of health issues since the accident in April. It has been a long, long road. The bone graft looks as if it was successful and the orthopedist believes he'll be able to walk again, even if his knee does not work, but the infections continue to rage. He began vomiting and running a temp in recovery.
I had to work today because it's year-end and budget time. The board meeting was a nightmare last night and the stress has reached critical mass. A committee chair who resigned felt it necessary to unload on me in front of my staff and volunteers. This was the first year since working for the Center that I was unable to participate in our Christmas children's program. I worked with the finance chair, program chair, and moderator crunching numbers.
And still...I am grateful. I am grateful for even the stress, because it marks how deeply I care. I love my son and his life was spared. On Thursday last week, one of my volunteers lost her son in an identical accident. I remember her asking after mine, offering concern and prayers. Her loss breaks my heart.
I love my job. Every day I get to wake up and do what I love to do, what I am passionate about, and something at which I am really good. I am paid to give a damn about people, to have vision for my community, to inspire, and to lead. I try very hard to keep a life of balance. I examine my heart, my motives, and my moral code. I know where I put my faith and set my standards high. I seek accountability for my choices and value my character above all my possessions.
As serious and limiting as that may sound to some, nothing could be more liberating. I believe in me. I like me. I have a damn fine time seeing what life will deliver up next, especially those times when I am challenged to walk through the tough times, the fire that burns away yet another piece of me that is unimportant, distracting me from the woman I long to be. Each time, I am a little stronger, better - purified.
And somehow, there's still time for irreverent fun, friends, family, love, adventure, reading, writing, scrabble, travel, and even tofurky!
And sometimes I see myself in yours...and still, I wonder.