Celebrate Anyway

Christmas day means nothing at all to a whole lot of the world. Even some fairly devoted Christians are either skeptical about the accuracy of modern guesstimates of when the historical person Jesus appeared on earth or, in some cases, just plain weary of the commercial kidnaping of Christmas as a secular holiday. Beyond that, there are innumerable people and nations so impoverished or endangered as individuals, as communities, or as entire regions of the world that the last thing they can afford to pay attention to is an arbitrarily set date for recognizing anything as a reason for joy and revelry.Photo: Cymbals

There are no gladly clashing cymbals, no brass choirs trumpeting their huzzahs to the skies, no parades or packages, masses or meditations that can fill the void in hearts and homes oppressed by war, famine, disease, hatred, or inner turmoil. The very thought of happiness and reverential bliss, if it can even pierce the noise and violence, the stress and terror holding such people hostage, seems hollow and artificial. Goodness and light are as distant and unimaginable as the most ridiculous fiction.
Photo: What a Lot of Brass

These sufferers deserve to have their sorrows and their pains lifted from them, obliterated by any and all who dare to change history. No one knows better than I that not everyone has the strength and wherewithal to be so bold in action. But if we cannot do so with our physical labors, we must do so with our hearts and minds, our words, our plans, and our constancy in spirit. One voice at a time, one solitary note sung by a tiny, quavering voice, is the only way to begin moving toward a day when others, also one by one, will join and build to a worldwide song of peace. Only when we direct our every breath toward healing, harmony, and hope will the song come fully alive. Every atom of our being will whisper, speak, sing, and shout until the whole of humanity rings with echoing gladness.
Photo: Stringed Instruments

One moment’s pause, one hour of cease-fire, one hospital patient or lost child or elderly neighbor rescued for one single part of a day at a time makes space for the sound to bloom. We need to make room, and lest the horrors should return to fill the void, we must fill it up instead with songs of hope and joy and celebrate any way we possibly can. The other voices will someday, if we sing for long enough, follow.

When a Boy Grows Up and Becomes a . . . a Much Older Boy

photoHappy Father’s Day, Dad! I know there was a time when you might’ve wished you’d had actual children and got us instead, but since you never left childhood entirely behind yourself, I think we can call it even. And just think, your offspring are following blithely in your footsteps to keep our own youthful high spirits intact via non-emergence into full adult behavior, so between us we’re all waving the old family flag pretty handily indeed. We’re only so good at it, of course, because we’ve had such an outstanding and irrepressible example in front of us all along.photoI’m grateful for the training in reckless enthusiasm, Teflon ego-building, rampant silliness, and all of the other life skills you have generously shared with us by guidance and example all along the way. I like to think I’m getting fairly good at all of that myself, but will never tire of knowing that it’s shared and that I perform my junior jollities in the shadow of a true master. A good father gives his offspring a happy childhood; a great father carries it on with his children so they never have to give up its joys completely. Thanks to your showing me the way, I can’t imagine ever losing my delight in the mystery and adventure and simple goofiness that life can bring, and that is a fantastic gift anyone less happy would have to envy. I hope you know how deeply–and yes, seriously–it’s appreciated, not just on Father’s Day but every day I can celebrate an untainted sense of the grandest laughing love of life. Thanks for that.

And as with mothers, I am doubly blessed, as I realized pretty much the instant I met the man who would become my other Dad, my husband’s father. It took no time to see that there was a kindheartedness and a very merry twinkle in the eye with which I felt utterly at home, familiar and safe, and these last sixteen-plus years have continued to prove my first assessment correct. To have two fathers who keep the days filled with generosity and warmth and love and my face always turned toward the smiling sun is truly a treasure that will never, ever grow old.photo