Sunday, December 25, 2011
THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT
This blog was originally written as a letter to KLP on Christmas Morning 2012.
It is Christmas morning and I am free this one special day from the terrors of lifting weights before dawn and can write at some length and drink a second coffee. I am alone, of course, and that is not the sad state it is for some people. I am not a "Christmas person" and haven't been since I was a little kid. I will not be one of those old folks who dies at Christmas because the sadness of being alone is just too much weight to bear on top of a chronic illness and the decrepitude of age. I will go when I go-I hope after a bout of rousing sex.
I have not written a blog for some time---too busy with other writing projects. I have the time today to do one, but not a thought in my head, so I will follow the advice I gave you about writing and will write as though writing to just one person, in this case, you, and hope something comes.
I have no memories of Christmas morning as a child and getting that "one wonderful present". I have no memories that appear as cute little movies that I can relive in this blog, scene by scene in a sepia haze of nostalgia. I do have vivid memories of the Christmas tree itself, but not specific memories of it on Christmas morning. I think the Christmas tree memories are cross referenced to the smell of the tree in my brain and so remain fresh. The BB gun or bike I got at Christmas had no distinctive smell and so is lost as a memory capable of vivid retelling. I am sure I squealed with delight getting them, but I can not remember doing so. I would be lying, if I wrote about that.
I do have some adult recollections that may be worthy of a blog post, since I have no childhood memories of any note. When I was 22 and married to Myrna (the magically gifted artist who became seriously ill and "died") I was alone for the early part of Christmas day. I had come back to London alone from our experiment in living in Nova Scotia, my not having found any paying work there in six months. I found work in London within days of my return in early December, in a retail camera store and was living in a boarding house a few blocks from the store.
Myrna was scheduled to follow me back to London on a a train scheduled to arrive on Christmas morning. She did arrive as scheduled and trudged through the snow from the train station to the boarding house, arriving at my room after noon, covered in wet snow, with one suitcase and a big smile. What went on after that I will leave to the imagination, but it will not take much imagination, I am sure. I remember remarking, "This is the best Christmas present I ever got." And it was. Poor as we were, we could afford no material gifts for each other, but we gave each other each other. We gave each other love.
To this day, I believe I have never had a Christmas gift as sweet. I know it will sound cliched to say that the spirit of Christmas is not about the money you spend, but about what you give of yourself to those around you. And not on any particular day, but everyday…
We are social animals programmed to live in community, and aside from our own selves, all we have is each other. Christmas day is more rewarding if we make it about rededicating ourselves to living in harmony with the other souls on this common human journey. And about remembering what has brought us joy in the past and trying to bring that same joy to the mates we sail with (so frighteningly briefly) on life raft earth.
James Hockings 2012