Is this another winter of discontent for us? That is, globally, as a species. Has the doomsday train left the station and begun its whistle-stop tour of humanity? People the world over may think so, and assuredly so might some within our own national boundaries, and yet it is within each of us, almost an innate feature of American childbirth, the spirit we warmly refer to as Christmas. A time of year in which scales of preparation perhaps exceed all others, the call heeded to give and receive, in whatever manner.
Sure, our economy still has a rancid stench about it but the Greeks and French tread far more dire straits than we do; Spain and Italy are struggling mightily not to join the ranks of severe austerity. It is a unique function of the human mind to be both adaptive and susceptible to our external environments, and as such, when you scarcely know where the next meal is coming from it's ludicrous to consider things such as gifts . . . yet it is hard to escape the lofty spirit of the season.
Take a few moments, every now and again, to part the veil of harsh reality and look around you, watch complete strangers interact, listen to your neighbors and co-workers stories about their lives. If you can keep the wolf at bay you will easily discover an energy waiting to be tapped. Don't reach for it, it will come to you.
You'll find someone at the cash register who comes up short some change, or maybe a dollar or two short and the next person in line will smile and make up the difference; you will discover that neighbors you rarely meet will wave at you when you encounter one another; perhaps you will get a whiff of the true power of good, of giving, over self-indulgence. While Congress can't seem to do it we as individuals have it within our power to make up for their willful ineptitude.
When you hear the word "gift" this or any holiday season most likely you envision it as a noun, as in "present," a wrapped package. But the word attains a wholeness, a satisfactory completeness when taken as a verb or adjective, even if indirectly. Take as an example the story of one Monty Roberts.
Monty, a teen, was the son of a thoroughbred horse trainer and his dream was to run a facility of his own one day. When given an assignment to write a paper entitled "My Goals In Life" he seized upon his dream and wrote out a detailed plan to achieve it.
His teacher, Mr. Fowler, returned the paper with a failing grade. "It's a wild, unattainable dream he told his student. "I know your family and background; it would not be possible." Fowler then insisted Monty rewrite the paper but Monty was not so easily swayed.
Monty and his mother discussed the paper and his interaction with Mr. Fowler that evening, and the next day the teen returned the original paper to his teacher with a note stating that he believed in his plan and the teacher shouldn't squelch or limit his aspirations. Mr. Fowler didn't respond at the time, but Monty received an A in the course.
As it would happen, Monty did, in fact, attain his dream through hard work and sheer determination. Many years later he received a call from Mr. Fowler requesting arrangement of a tour of Monty's stables for his church group.
After the tour Fowler related to the group the story of the term paper and the note Monty had written. "There was a time when I told Monty that this was unattainable," he said. "Now we've all had a good look around and seen how he proved me wrong." His student, he said, taught him "the most valuable lesson I ever learned."
That, in short, is a gift in action verb, not a noun. And it wasn't just a present for the moment, rather one to impact a whole life. Talk about impressive.
By any definition the fact that we're here at all, forget the advent of civilization with its development of writing and language, agriculture, and social and environmental engineering's a miracle, a gift in itself. Think about that when you're hustling about, warming up your credit cards, and getting ready for "Christmas." Perhaps there is some other gift which may be readily given with precious little monetary cost but unquantifiable personal gain.
Merry Christmas to all, and a healthy, prosperous New Year.
About the Author:
J.W. Nicklaus attests to living somewhere between the city closest to the Sun and upon the precipice of Hell—but the winters are mild in Arizona. An avid reader and peerless amateur philosopher, he is “DNA and energy. I am cellular and soulful. I am shadow and light. I am carbon and water . . . and I am stardust. As are we all.” His singular ambition is simple: to leave the world a slightly better place than when he came into it.
J.W. latest book is the fiction drama novella, The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose.
You can find out more about J.W. at http://avomnia.com/about.html.
Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381134300.
About the Book:
Once a small-town success and happy family man, Hagren Roose finds his slide backwards at once abrupt and wrenching. His small-town mentality sets him on a journey of his own making, of which he has no control—and only he can atone for.
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