"When we are disappointed by a pleasure which we have been expecting and which comes, the disappointment is because we were expecting the future, and as soon as it is there it is present. We want the future to be there without ceasing to be future. This is an absurdity of which eternity alone is the cure."
As Christmas approached and I knew we had nothing to give I began focusing on establishing a longer event itself. That happened for the most part and we had a very nice time at my Dad's, it didn't feel rushed though we were all tired. We enjoyed a Chinese feast, listened to Grandpa read some interesting tidbits and then opened presents. My wife and oldest daughter had been given a gift card and bought their own presents lol, wrapped them and opened those. The little one got a really neat gift she loved. Her own tablet, a real nice one as my Dad is prone to do with electronics.
Christmas morning we all got up fairly early singing various carols and the girls opened a few gifts we had been able to provide.
Early Christmas morning I was sitting drinking coffee and I realized I was ok. There have been many Christmases I have spent a ton of money and been left feeling completely drained, spent and honestly...unhappy and unfulfilled. I reflected that all the years we had money it never occurred to me that this family would receive much joy in adopting a family for Christmas. My kids are far from perfect but the three here at home all have big hearts.
As the day approached I really tried to focus on that quote. I told myself I would enjoy the time because it is then that memories are made...and my own memories are far less of what I got from my folks then the little traditions and closeness it created. The "old" me would have been checking the mail daily, hoping someone sent a gift card or something. Maybe begging my father for money to get the kids "more." I neither felt or desired either of the two. It goes against the practice of mindfulness, of accepting we are here.
Losing disability is pretty devastating. I have no idea what the future holds. As a family of 4 I have to make 50K a year or more or we lose more benefits than I accumulate. I am not sure such a job exists for me currently. To avoid losing insurance or the scant hope of disability accepting my appeal, I can only make < $800/month. As soon as we do exceed that mark we begin losing food help, all insurance including my meds and the wife's meds. It's a situation we have never been able to rectify as a nation, forcing someone into employment that makes them poorer than they are. But I am not angry anymore.
My twelve year old has no idea how much she affected me this week. She finally connected with a new female, in home therapist. Really likes her. I asked her "what exactly do you like?" her answer just floored me. She said
"I like her because she doesn't 'feel sorry for me'....I don't want people to feel sorry for me I want help not pity."
Wow. Talk about mindfulness.
If you are reading this and feel that inevitable let down from the holidays try to focus on these events as they are happening. Try to stop yourself and just be happy in the moment. It's hard, its really hard for some in particular.
I don't know what the next year holds. I know as this year wraps up I am far more aware of myself than I ever have been. I am still learning to accept myself. Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned is that most of the time if something is really bothering you just walk away. Don't need to fight every fight. I need to focus on the present and need to eliminate things that cause me pain or to get tripped up. For the first time...I am really ok with that. It's not always about wrong and right.
Me and my songs :-) Of course one of my favorites is "How he loves us" by the David Crowder Band and there is a line in that song that is quickly becoming the first thing I tell myself each day
"I don't have time to maintain these regrets"
For me...right now...its that simple.
On Christmas a friend of mine sent me a message about a book he is about to publish. He is an outstanding (Published) writer named Dan Hunt. He has several books out, short stories, a series and poetry. I was privy to a powerful story he wrote as a young man. It was a short story of reflection about losing his dog he had for years. His use of imagery is powerful and the story weaved his feelings together in a tapestry. His emotions and thoughts swelled far greater than the loss of his dog and into his own life.
It was the ending that always got me and I don't think I ever knew why. He ends it with (and Daniel I am sure some of my paraphrasing is off...sorry...) a sentence that says "I walked out the door to face life."
That's what I am trying to do. Face life. Accept myself and my situation. Remove things that are unhealthy and just remember
Yesterday does not remember me
Tomorrow Does not yet know me
I own today
Here is a link to Daniel's book of short stories