I'm waiting around for a UPS package to be delivered (I had it sent to my office -- but our office was officially closed so it was just me, an open door, and time) and am a bit frustrated. But I was determined to not let a lost afternoon ruin Christmas Eve. And although I normally spend this day doing things like roaming around a mall (not to shop -- but to watch others and try to soak in a Christmas season that I intentionally deprive myself of), it wasn't a bad experience. I finally turned off talk radio and browsed around youtube for Christmas videos that are oddly important to me. "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters? I'm kidding, right? Nope. That song was buried on a Christmas 8 track tape that my dad had constantly running at his department store during December years and years ago in Bridgeport. I distinctly remember in high school going down to that place every year late at night and wrapping presents. I'd turn the soundtrack on, turn it up, and have the whole place to myself. It was almost as if some type of magical solitude had transformed the place after hours of being crammed with people during the day. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas"? Am I serious? You bet. I remember listening to it as I ran around the old dirt track at the old Bridgeport Middle School when I was home from college one year. I was overcome, after being flooded with memories of that school and that field, with the realization that some times in your life are simply gone forever. Sappy, but true. This is leading somewhere. I promise. Let me issue a simple Christmas shout out to you whether you visit this silly blog once a month or a few times a day. I'm not sure how it started or how it has evolved into whatever mess it is now, but I appreciate the visits and the comments --- whether those comments be the incredibly nice ones or those that are so bitingly critical of me that they make me stop and think about whether maybe, just maybe, you might be right. And one final thing, I'm amazed at how much those bloggers listed on the left (and, of course, others) put themselves "out there" -- revealing their life's pains and blessings to an audience of both friends and strangers. I really don't do that. A good friend told me that I was the ultimate psychiatric experiment for running Liberally Lean while at the same time being the most secretive, reserved, and emotionally guarded individual that he knew. I don't have an explanation for that. But, on this Christmas Eve, I'll let you know a little. By choice, I've awakened every Christmas morning of my adult life -- with the exception of one -- with no children in the home. About four years ago I decided that I'd jog outside at the break of dawn on Christmas morn believing it would be an emotional and happy experience --- the sensation of running by home after home and contemplating whether joyous present-opening-chaos was breaking out behind those closed doors and brick walls. It would be fun. But it wasn't like that at all. It was the outside that turned out to be overwhelming. Quiet and cold . . . and empty. I haven't done it since. There's no real moral to the story other than to remind you to enjoy the inside. And although without kids, I've got a niece and nephew that I see every year on Christmas Day. It seems like yesterday they were toddlers and now both of them are in college. "Time flies" is a cliche. But it's a cliche because it's so true. Oh, and one other secret? Every year when I drive home for Christmas in the late morning, to the same house I grew up in, I listen to the song below. It's the only time during the year that I will do that. It's my personal tradition. I have no idea who that family is in the video or what country they are from but, I suppose, the message is universal. Merry Christmas.
at 5:54 PM