December

December: (n) the twelfth month of the year, containing thirty-one days

Normally, I do not like to hear someone say, “This is my favorite…”

Mainly because if you hang around them for twenty minutes, they will stake claim on a new favorite which has jumped ahead of the old one, which has lost predominance in this brief span of time.

But I do believe December is my favorite month. (You will notice how easily I abandon my own concepts and asides.)

I say this about December because it contains both my birthday and Christmas.

This is not to say that my birthday is Christmas and therefore I am the Christ. (I did want to make that clear.)

My birthday is one week before Christmas, and I’ve always relished the beautiful time of year, and in a strange sense have felt uplifted—that the whole world decides to decorate in honor of my appearance on Earth.

But the main thing I like about December, and the reason I believe it should be the first month of the year, is that all the things that make us better people seem to stop, park and walk around for a while.

  • Commerce
  • Communication
  • Family
  • Money
  • Celebration
  • Decoration
  • Good secrets
  • Smiles
  • Excellent eating

 

And a twinge of faith growing in the worst scrounging Scrooge

It is amazing.

Is it amazing because it commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth?

Is it made special because we have decided to turn up our childlike and turn down our childish?

Is it the fact that money flows freely, budgets are met, surprises are provided and dreams are explored?

Or is it just because, in a thirty-one-day period, all these possibilities unite for a common holiday?

So whether you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” (and by the way, the word “holiday” is a hybrid for “holy day”)…

Well, whatever you say makes little difference to what you feel.

And Christmas is a time when we allow feeling to take supremacy over thinking and doing.

Most of the time, we’re frightened to permit this.

But Christmas is feeling, dressed up in emotion, saturated with faith, and glittered with invention—proclaiming peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

December is my favorite.

You can even come back tomorrow, and more than likely, it will hold the same noble position.

 

Day

Day: (n) the time between sunrise and sunset

I certainly would not want to be so presumptuous as to suggest that I have found some pearl of great price or fragment of wisdom that is life-changing for every human soul.

But it works for me.

And honestly, it’s difficult for me to care about you if I feel maladjusted.

I’m not nearly as likely to sense empathy for your modicum when I’m toiling with my “bottom of the barrel.”

And I do want to feel for you—somewhat. Enough to be helpful, but not so much that I’m taking phone calls in the middle of the night.

So I will tell you, the best thing I do—the happiest discovery, the most intelligent endeavor and the “eternal” that seems to bring me life—is taking every single day and breaking it down into as many pieces of possibility as I can.

When I make out a “Things to Do Today List,” I include waking up, putting my feet on the floor, morning pee and brushing my teeth.

That’s four things right there.

For instance, by the time God did four things in Genesis, there were birds in the sky.

I don’t say this because I want to be silly or make meaningless things possess significance.

I just think if something I do is unique, it deserves a moment of celebration.

For bluntly, there is nothing like waking up.

No moment in my day will be quite like that first splash of awareness that enters my mind, when I translate from sleep to reality.

Likewise, throwing my legs out of the bed and onto the floor may be the greatest exertion ever undertaken—I mean, in comparison to other times when I exercise and already warmed up.

Must I defend the beauty and the glory of the first morning pee? I love to hear it as it hits the porcelain and splashes into the tide. I love the power I feel when I change the color of a toilet full of clear water.

Brushing the teeth—it is the symbol of salvation. Dirty incisors and crusty molars being immediately transformed into shining stars in my mouth simply by a minute-and-a-half cleansing.

And that’s just to begin my day.

Don’t forget dressing.

Breakfast.

A little reading.

Catching up on some emails.

Stepping outside to see what the day has to offer.

There are so many highlights in one day that are set apart and precious. How dare we ever discuss a week? A month? Or a year?

Take no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow has its own problems.

Consider the day.

Pack it full.

Rally around its possibilities.

Regale its offerings.

Giggle at its missteps.

And tenaciously survive its grumbles and complaints.

 

Cohort

Cohort: (n) a group of people banded together

I have a son who’s convinced that I am becoming more conservative as I get older.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Age has done one thing and only one thing for me–it has insisted that I be practical.

It stands over me, often in a threatening pose, barking in my ear that the plans I had made to do something beyond my physical abilities are not filled with initiative, but rather, reek of stupidity.

I become more and more astounded with the simplicity of the statement, “Those that are not against us are for us.”

Therefore, mankind is my cohort, and I, its.

I am looking for reasons to enjoy the people around me instead of tagging them as enemies to be avoided.

Every time I read something, I find one little tiny nugget of valuable common sense. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Bible or the Communist Manifesto–each document has a golden gleam which makes its writing valuable and worthy of human hearing.

But also, each document is chock-full of filler–statements thrown in, sometimes as afterthoughts and often in ignorance.

So when a Republican talks, I listen for sense. Likewise, when a Democrat shares, I probe the speech for reasonability. In the process of doing this, I find myself making more friends and being far less critical.

Recently a friend asked what I thought about a song that was being touted on the Internet. I replied, “They started on the same beat, didn’t miss a lyric and ended in pitch.”

There’s a lot to be said for that. It is a fine beginning for discussion. But often, humans will find one word within the body of the poetry which they consider distasteful, and relegate the entire presentation to being hellish nothingness.

A cohort of critics.

How boring.

How boorish.

How stubborn

How meaningless.

I found out some time ago that the world never gets anything right. Celebration occurs when the effort comes close.

 

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Birthday

Birthday: (n) the anniversary of the day on which a person was born

Find the reason.Dictionary B

There are too many things we do in life that are either absent purpose or have lost direction, but continue to be honored in some awkward way.

Because we do not understand the true value of a birthday, we come up with cakes, cards, silly gifts, and nervous congratulatory statements to cruise through the twenty-four hours, relieved that it only happens once a year.

The reason for a birthday is to establish how well we have used the blessing of 365 days.

If you find yourself discontented or embarrassed to look back on the activities of the previous year, then you know the greatest gift you can be given on your birthday is a gentle kick in the “assaroni” to do better.

Our lives should mean something.

They should not be apologies for the activity level we have selected, based upon our circumstances.

They should not be a listing of the people who love us because we have decided to love them.

A birthday is a celebration of growth in the passing of a year, instead of passing a year with no growth.

There are three things I want to hear on my birthday:

1. We’re glad you’re here.

2. You make our lives better and easier.

3. We are astounded at how many of the things you wanted to do this year that you were able to accomplish.

Now, that is a Happy Birthday.

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Banquet

Banquet: (n) an elaborate evening meal for many people, often followed by speeches.Dictionary B

Just yesterday.

After finishing up a successful gig, where I was inundated with the presence of fine human beings and the fortune of good finance, I was ready to celebrate.

I was shocked to discover that I wanted to eat–large quantities.

Then I realized that universally in our species, we reward ourselves for good behavior–or even good attendance at work–by holding a banquet, devouring fattening foods, and patting each other on the back as we listen to someone speak for 34 minutes on a subject on which we all agree, trying to keep from dozing off from the overindulgence in carbs and sweets.

God bless America.

Even though I was critical of myself for wanting to glutton after my success, I had to stop and wonder what alternatives are granted to us for such occasions.

  • I could get drunk. I never have done so.
  • Some people would grab their bong and sit on the “grass.” Once again, not my style.
  • I suppose I could sip coffee and ruminate over the elements of the success. That’s a little too “Mad Men” for me.

Yet I have never heard of anyone exercising or running after such a bounty.

No, I have to be honest–a banquet seems to be our universal answer when we feel the need for self-acclaim.

Maybe it goes back to our Norse roots–when we were Vikings and felt that overeating was required after all debauchery and pillaging.

I’m not sure.

But I will keep you updated.

If I find any good replacement for shoveling food in one’s mouth to fuel the human ego, I will certainly write you … so that we all might have healthier ways to feed our egos.

 

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Afterlife

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter AAfterlife: (prep) 1. life after death 2. later life e.g. they spent most of their afterlife trying to forget the fire.

There is a certain presumption to the idea of heaven which often makes me uncomfortable. It’s this notorious notion that we can live a meager existence, fraught with fault, indecision and selfishness, and because God in heaven has granted us salvation, we will suddenly be translated into eternal, enlightened creatures.

I always wonder what people would think if heaven ended up just being their life–except maybe moving it to Hawaii. In other words, just a little better surroundings, but you bring your furniture.

What if heaven is not a relief of our pain, but instead, an individualized celebration of our discoveries on Earth? What if the misery we have claimed as our own is not alleviated, but instead, continued–just surrounded by hula girls and beaches?

Would the change in surroundings be enough to make us enjoy our choices better?

It’s confounding–because everything on earth works with a delicate balance of effort, patience and grace.

  • Effort in the sense that I actually show up and do my best
  • Patience because good things sometimes take a while
  • And grace because God, in His mercy, grants it to those who are truly humble

How can there be an afterlife if there wasn’t first a life?

If we offer a meager resume to the heavenly corporation, why do we think we are up for a promotion?

Well, you can believe what you want to believe. I think there’s a four-step process to making a life which would make any kind of afterlife absolutely delectable:

  1. Find what you can do.
  2. Do it well.
  3. Get better
  4. Help somebody.

This is the life I choose–and if I were asked to continue it in another place … I would be overjoyed to do so.