This is Thanksgiving Week, and I've heard everyone I know being thankful about something. For some it is family. For others it is time off, fun plans, health, kids home from college, or something equally wonderful. In the state of Alabama, it is time for the Iron Bowl and bragging rights for the next 365 days. It is also the week of Black Friday...which I bowed out of years ago after realizing that I am not woman enough to hang out at Best Buy at 4 a.m. to buy something I couldn't even locate in the store. I thought I'd give it a shot last year after hours at Old Navy because they had men's jeans for $10. That was a colossal fail in that it was A) impossible to figure out what was left because the shelves had been emptied, stirred up and then thrown back together and B) all of the normal sizes were gone. What remained would have fit an NBA player or a smurf. So, I'm definitely, positively, and permanently retired from that particular madness.
Which is perfectly fine with me, by the way.
Because what I am thankful for is that I don't have anything that I particularly feel the need to track down like a bloodhound for Christmas morning. My kids are beyond Toys R Us and have most of the electronics that they require in this day and age. They like gifts and want to be surprised, but they aren't driving me crazy with lists and constant discussions and intermittant begging. Now it is somewhat likely that they'll know most of what they have under the tree...and they seem truly okay with that.
But if I were a fairy godmother with a magic wand...there are a few gifts that I'd like to give some people this Christmas. Not everybody that would receive a gift would know that they were on my list because I enjoy giving anonymously. I'd just wave the wand and sit back and watch. And I'd surely not turn whatever it was back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. I always thought that was so lame.
I'd give one sweet friend some peace of mind and some forgiveness for herself. She can't really control the choices that others make...even though they seem to require that she always be part of the support system when the bottom drops out. I'd love for her to find healing for herself...both physically and emotionally. And I'd also like the ingrates that she has to deal with to remember how very special she is.
I'd give another friend a few more hours every day to finally catch up on everything that she can't get done. She's a single parent and finds that there is far more to do than there are hours in a day. She tries to make time to take care of herself, but is having to hit her treadmill at midnight just to fit it all in. I'd wish for her life to be less complicated and more restful.
Another one needs a herd of elves to clean out closets and drawers that have been long neglected. She is willing to get rid of things, but is too afraid to lift the lid on that Pandora's box for fear that she will never get it all put away again.
Another one needs to get her checkbook balanced and have a clue how much money she has. It can't be easy worrying all the time about how everything is going to get paid.
Others seriously need to meet Mr. Wonderful so that we can all just move on. Some people need to meet Mr. Wonderful at 35, others at 27, and some at 20. I am just hoping that the various Mr. Wonderfuls DO show up in 2011 if I have to locate them and have speed dating in my living room or something. I'm so serious.
Several need healing, others need motivation, and a few others need something to look forward to because life seems to royally suck right now.
Some need to be exorcised of their selfishness, and others need to quit living life as a doormat.
And everybody seriously needs to have a little more fun in their lives.
A few need to remove the word "yes" from their vocabulary and replace it with "are you flipping kidding me?" I'm thinking of making flashcards for them to help.
At least a few need to quit wishing that life was different and learn to cope with the new reality.
Sometimes we forget that every blessing that we have involves some sacrifice of either time, energy, or freedom. If we have a house...we have to clean it. If we have children...we have to raise them. If we have pets...we have to care for them. If we have people in our lives...we have to nurture them. Accepting the blessing without the corresponding sacrifice is what causes a great deal of friction in this world.
Occasionally, people forget this and only see the sacrifice without the blessing. Sometimes in reality that's all there is. People can break our hearts, you know. But constantly focusing on the sacrifice makes us martyrs. Constantly focusing on the blessing and not understanding the sacrifice makes us selfish. Somewhere in between is balance. And in that space between...we find the abundance of life.
I know that most of the gifts I'd love to give won't be in the flyers tomorrow that are crammed into our little Wednesday newspaper here. And that's really and truly okay. I am approaching the age where there aren't really that many items I need that I can't go out and buy for myself. And I've given up on finding out that I descended from fairies or elves and have magical powers as much as I used to wish that it were true. But what I can do is pray to find balance and to be as big a blessing to others as possible in the coming year.
And yes, I'll read about the great deals that are out there for those who know how to snag a deal at an hour when normal people are still asleep. I wish them well. I really do. But maybe the gifts I'd really love to give are those things that money cannot buy. Peace, love, joy, happiness and the like.