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Christmas Letter from an Okay Human

December 20, 2010
Rust Craft, circa 1950

Image via Wikipedia

The letter/poem below went out today, “The last day for USPS delivery of on time Christmas cards.”

Over the years, I’ve made great fun of those Christmas letters people send. Some always seem like a brag fest or a whine-a-thon. But actually, I always enjoyed getting and reading them, especially from those I don’t really talk to through the year but care about nonetheless. I love to hear what is going on in their lives. Now, with my Energy Chip supply, my spiritual crisis, health and societal rebellion, I have enjoyed the letters I’ve received even more. It’s not that I want or need to rekindle past relationships. Goodness knows this has taught me not to spread myself flat as a flitter. One can only truly nurture a few close relationships no matter what their circumstance. Those who think they can are probably as delusional as I was.

Anyway, I had the thought, a rhyming thought, as that’s how my thoughts seem to come, that I should write my first ever Christmas letter and do so in sing songing rhyme. As our lives are wonderful though far from brag worthy, I could poke a bit of fun at those who make their year sound like something out of a Hallmark movie at best, or a sob story out of a Guideposts magazine at worst. What came out though was more the traditional Christmas letter than I ever intended and with that, a far greater understanding of all those letters I received in the past.

Life is hysterical and a tragedy. In my own quest to stop seeking, the hilarity is more obvious than ever and what I have found most are undeniable feelings that cover the spectrum of the human condition. 2010 contained both my greatest joy and deepest grief thus far.

We went to Trader Joe’s the other day to do some grocery shopping. It was a bitter cold day, not getting above freezing and windy. When we got to the car, dear Lee sent me to the warmth of the inside while she loaded our purchases. Then, she went to return the shopping cart, grabbing another cart left in the parking lot on her way. As the inside of the store was as close as the cart parking spot (thanks to our handy-dandy handicap placard), she headed back into the store with both carts. An employee of the store, a woman about my own age was heading out of the store. She was all bundled up on her way to retrieve all the carts in the cart parking spot and all those discarded and left all over the parking lot by cold and hurried shoppers. She stopped in front of Lisa and said, “Thank you. You are an outstanding human.”

What my letter doesn’t say and I’d never quite found the words to say before, is that that statement sums up my new spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof. No longer do I look for God. No longer do I try to figure things out I have no way of knowing for sure while in this precious though flimsy physical form. No longer do I dare say I know something for sure about God or prayer or after life or purpose…any knowing I have ever had has been extremely personal, gleaned intuitively at its most concrete level. Instead, I now enjoy being human and sadly, realize that as humans go, I’ve not been a particularly great one. I’ve been better than some, worse than others.

I’ve spent this time since my heart broke (both figuratively and literally) realizing that it takes real effort to be a decent human to myself and a handful of others. So, I wrote the letter not to rekindle friendships I don’t have the energy to do justice to, but to share this battered but furiously loving heart with the few I thought would want to know for loving reasons. I wrote it mainly for myself though.  As all the writing I do, I wrote it down to take it out and look at it. Maybe that’s what Christmas or Holiday letters are, a way to take the year out and look at it and make some sort of Hallmark moment of the piece of time we’ve spent being whatever human we were, interacting with our chosen humans.

You are one of those chosen humans in my life. Clearly you represent my need to connect and have meaning. You are the friends I want but no longer have the energy to nurture. You are the family who is not offended if I forget what we talked about yesterday, your birthday or anniversary. You have no expectations of me and are not crushed if I don’t return your call or invite you to dinner. By the same token, I am not devastated if I don’t hear from you, assuming some slight on my part has destroyed our relationship.

Though our friendship may lack the depth of those I experience face to face, it is very real and I am very grateful. For that reason, I have added you to my “Christmas Card List.” If you happen to find yourself getting the hard copy as well, I apologize for the redundancy and am doubly grateful you care so much as to read my ramblings.

With no further ado,

Greetings from Whoville!

We’ve not been ones for long Christmas letters and we gave up cards long ago,

but none the less, we’ll do our best and through 2010 we will go

We didn’t get promoted, I’m now disabled and quite unemployed

and I found what I thought so important I now no longer enjoyed

After searching near and looking far, poor Lisa found a job

but we didn’t earn an award or accolade to please a humble snob

I lost my mother and we both had to let go much of the life we had worked for

We looked at the closed window and bravely walked through a tiny and small open door

leading us to a new kind of good on which we could settle and ponder

like the little house by the lake that we found; we packed up and moved over yonder

Holly and Daniel moved into a house that I can’t help wish wasn’t so far,

but so cute and perfect it was, and for real, just twenty minutes by car

Despite a big twister and that came roaring through, it’s kept them both warm and cozy

They make it their own, calling it home, coming together just rosy

Hannah and Derek, Jacob and Zack keep growing and bursting at seams

with toys and dogs, cats, fish, turtles and snails, sugarplum babies and dreams

skateboards and video games, Ipod-ing, too, Facebook keeping in time

locks and key cards, jeep parts and laughter, they live a Dr. Seuss/Doolittle rhyme

Mitchell and Bethany had baby Brady and we drove up to meet the new Rushing

He coo’d and we ahh’d and we had a great time, smiling out loud without hushing

The only thing wrong with this new nephew of ours, the distance apart that we live

We would really like to watch him grow up, hugs and kisses we would like to give

Odin is far and visits are few, time spent together is rare,

like Albany, Florida, even Copperhill, no matter how far we still care

and wish we could visit and meander around, lolli-gag and mosey over

the hills and the roads and the rivers like a retired and rich couple rover

We talk on the phone with Marie/Mom and Dad/Fred and sometimes talk to brother

Eric Todd up in the windy town, he gives us one food tip or other

Speaking of brothers, Rodney is near and stops by to eat or to chat

He bought an old Lincoln and drives around town, looking all “bad” and “phat”

As for our health, we seem to be sailing right through the storms with pure ease

with a fat deprived diet and half our income in meds, drug companies surely we please

We are blissfully dull and boring you see and we find that we like it this way

We’ve had enough drama and busy to fill twenty lifetimes, what more can I say?

There’s always a sad tear lurking nearby for the should haves and could haves and such

a memory here and a want to be there, we long for their love and their touch

but our hearts are full and bursting in fact with the family and friends we can hold

and trust that the love that we gave was enough and enough of the story was told

We wake up each morning to the love of our lives and know that our love is a blessing

I love Lee more than even before, and since all of this I’m confessing

I know she loves me and life somehow gets better and better and better

than we can begin to describe or tell you about in this one little holiday letter

If you get this letter this year in the mail, just know that we love and adore you

and wish you good things like joy and good health, love, peace and happiness, too

and if you’ve wondered if we are around and ask yourself, “Why don’t they call?”

as mom use to say, “Of all that I’ve lost, I miss my mind most of all.”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, Lisa and Allison


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