Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Confusions

Guilt! Will this missive miss you? Or will you get it, and with it feel relieved that you've been included, not forgotten, overlooked, or neglected? We each have such long lists of friends to contact, to buy for, to be sure to contact. There are people in this very special season who once upon a time treated me with such kindness, gave me gifts, included me into their festivities, made me feel welcome; and now? They do not even appear on my list; not that I keep such a list any longer, for the sending of Christmas cards clouds my sense of obligation every December. To whom? There are simply too many people. 

Where are you now? Do you still think of me and the time when...? But that's another story. We each have our stories. We each have so very many people we'd be glad to see, glad to let know we care. But then again, where does the congregation end? Do we simply pass by those in other pews, nod at those close enough, shake hands with those in close proximity, and even get to hug the ones closest to us? Do we sign and send all and sundry a card, give some a present, overspend on the budget? Merry Christmas!

I am confused. Deep in my bones I know I should try to contact each of the persons on my list of people, or at least because we are in some sort of correspondence, or those I knew in the past and always owe a sense of care and interest in their lives, but... There are well over one thousand people on my Facebook list alone, and then all the students and colleagues and theatre people and family and ... You! How are you now, really?

Deep in my bones I worry about the lack of contact, the apparent lack of interest (in the sense that lack of contact appears like a lack of interest), and deep in my bones I ache with hope that you are well, are happy, have forgiven me my trespasses (for Lord knows I can think of no one who has trespassed against me,) and deep in my bones I wish you love and peace and happiness and contentment.

My guilt stems from the inability to express those sentiments to every person I know, easily, economically, freely. I have no need to have the gift of care returned, the reach out toward another reciprocated, the warmth of my thoughts of you felt back. But my confusion arises out of the apparent generalities of such sentiments now. Or does an 'about me' letter (in January we did this; in February we did that) really reach out more?

Right now I am here, as you are there, and we have arrived together at a moment in which (if you're still reading) you may know I am speaking directly to you and caring for your happiness and welfare. Now if this was a card in my own handwriting with a stamp that I had licked you might altogether be more convinced, even if the words in the card were generally generic, sappy, and of course, appropriately seasonal. Hence my guilt!

Christmas with its guilt confuses me. How come I do not feel so guilty about the lack of contact during the rest of the year? Why should the sentiment about care for you and your welfare and happiness only be expressed during this season? Why not let you also know that I care whenever the thought strikes me? Well, let me tell you, in that case, I'd hardly be able to stop contacting you! Merry Christmas! In fact: Happy Every Day too!

1 comment:

  1. Every year I fight the guilt of the "rule" that states that I must make Christmas wonderful for everyone, or that is "proof" that I am cold-hearted or incompetent. Because I don't send cards, others don't send them to me. Now we only receive cards from the dentist and the accountant, and I don't display those because they might as well say "Ha ha, better than you, you didn't send any cards this year!" on the front of them.


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