Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Often at night, I will spend hours struggling for a topic on which to write my blog. Today’s topic is easy. Whether you are Christian or not, this is Christmas for everybody, of all faiths all around the world. Whether it is celebrated or not, whether the individuals are Christian or not, whether they like it or not, today is Christmas. I doubt that there are a handful of people in the world who are not at least aware of this simple fact.
But having a topic and having a premise are two different beasts. having a topic and having a premise are two different beasts. having a topic and having a premise are two different beasts. having a topic and having a premise are two different beasts. Anybody can decide to write about Christmas, but for someone like me, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, someone with nobody with whom to celebrate, what does one write?
Oh, sure I could write about how the commercialization has overtaken the true meaning of Christmas, or how we’re supposed to be celebrating Christmas, but even that leaves much to be desired. Should it be the religious aspect, or gifts versus actual giving, or maybe the history?
No, I think I want to write about family which, for my regular readers, might seem odd. But the reality is that I am with my family today, even though I am alone. Physically I’ve chosen to stay in my house without guests, but, who, really, is my family? I lost my father this year, but the reality I lost that father years ago. Finger pointing aside, the reality is that we were better off apart than together. Maybe I can only speak for myself, but he never accepted my attempts to breach the distance, nor did he ever reach out to me, so I think it’s fair to assume that he was happier without me as well. Unfortunately I will never know if I’m correct in this hypothesis, but I hope that, in the en
d, he found contentment.
But not only did I lose my father, but I also lost my father. No, not a typo, but I also lost my second father, Kosta, whom I often think of as my academic father. He and I also drifted apart. I know he would have loved to have me visit or reach out, but I let him down as well. I guess it’s my nature to let people down, but the reality is that I also know that this father would never have been disappointed in me.
And herein is where family comes into play for me. Christmas is a time of family, but how do we define family? Was my dad my father, or was Kosta? When I need to think about a father, it’s Kosta that comes to mind. When I think of my family, my mind goes to my friends.
I live in isolation, this is true, but I also know that my life is full of love. I can’t possibly tell you about my entire family, some of whom I’ve not heard from in years, but I can tell you that I can reach out to any one of them today and they would be warm, inviting, and full of love for me as I am for them. It’s because of their love that as alone as my depression makes me feel in my mind, my heart knows that I’m never truly alone.
The thing about family is that family is always family in good times and bad. I have a friend who is a new mom, and I know she’s struggling with this right now. I don’t know if it’s postpartum depression (which I believe is a response to the rapidly changing hormonal balance birth causes), or a change in the lifestyle but my heart is with her this Christmas. I know she has a fabulous husband who is surely a great help to her, but I’m feeling her pain at least to the extent that I can, and my heart is with her.
I have another couple struggling because of the pandemic today. They’ve worked hard to create financial independence and self-reliance including with rental properties, but sadly the depressed economy is hitting them hard. I know they’re very worried, and I wish I could help. Hopefully things will turn around for them, and my mind is with them this Christmas.
Another friend of mine is blessed, but probably feeling isolated right now. This pandemic has made it hard for her to visit her sister who is fighting serious health problems, or to have her usual large gatherings for holidays. She may not admit it, but she is very much the matriarch of her family, direct and extended, and this year part of that family has relocated to another state. While she’s blessed that her family is as tight as they are (thanks to her efforts), I know she’s hurting because they cannot be physically together. But my spirit is with her as I know she will do what she can to make this Christmas special for her entire family, which I know includes me.
To my entire family, including you who are reading my blog, I wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, and I hope you feel the love and warmth of your entire family, regardless of how they became a part of it or how far they may be.