The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Gift of the Magi

December in upstate New York is actually a pretty magical time.  I've spent every holiday season here since I can remember, and I always took it for granted that where I lived looked like all the paintings and postcards of "Christmas".  As I put a few years behind me, I realized not everywhere looks like that at Christmas-time.  In fact, my friend from Australia showed me some Christmas Pictures of his family, and they were decked out in shorts and he was complaining about the heat! It's Summer down-under during Christmas.  He always says to me, "I wish we had snow here for Christmas!".  Many of my friends in the Southern Hemisphere say things like that.  If I could package up a little snow and send it to them, I would - but - alas, snow is just frozen water, and anything I'd send to them would just turn into a big, wet, box.  Which could be interpreted as some weird metaphoric threat, instead of the joy I wished to send.  I digress.

The thing is, I love this season.  I love the idea that for many people, this season means being thankful for the good things you have in your life.  You try to stand a little straighter; act a little nicer.  You try to be the best version of yourself that you can be.  You hug your family a little tighter when you see them; you look at them a little more wistfully, knowing you've spent and grown another year together.  You look towards that new year, and you think of all those things you want to improve and change about yourself and your life.  You try to reflect on what it means to be a good human being.  You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and you see another year added to the face that once was a child during this season.  You see the older you, but you remember that unbridled and unrestrained joy you could feel as a kid - and you see it in the generations below you.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure the best gift I ever got at Christmas was "The Millennium Falcon".  My parents put that, along with a bunch of other Star Wars toys, underneath our Christmas tree for my brother and I.  We were fortunate; we had gifts every year, no matter what the circumstances were.  We were young, and we had no conception of those worries that I'm all too familiar with now.  Everyone hates to grow up - when you are young, you think you want to, and one day you realize youth is wasted on the young.  But one thing I have absolutely loved in growing up is being able to see what the real gifts in your life are.  How they don't fit neatly into a box with a bow under a tree.  How they didn't break the bank to buy and how you can't stand in a line outside a retail store the day after Thanksgiving to buy.

I don't need a thing for another Christmas in my whole life.  Not one thing do I need - I only need to spend it watching my family smile, laugh, joke - and love.  The greatest gift for me is just being here - so, if I seem quiet sometimes, it's mostly because I'm lost in reverie, taking in the moment, and trying to hold on to that precious feeling. 

My parents came, and gave me life - twice, in fact, they gave of themselves to ensure I lived.
My donor's family came, and gave me life when the light in theirs had gone out.
My wife came, and showed me just what to do with all the life I have been given.

I am not a wise man, but I am a thankful man.  The last twelve Christmases of my life have all been seasons I consider a true gift.  I could have easily been not alive for them, and in that time - I have watched my family grow and I've been witness to the beauty, wonder and joy of the season.  As I reflect on my love for family and friends, I try to remind myself of the things I can do to be a better person.  And I hope in my next year, I can accomplish more of the goals I set for myself.

To those who this season is not as joyous as it is for me, know that my heart and thoughts are with you.  To those who celebrate the season, my heart is with you as well.  And in this time of turmoil, where hearts are upturned, inflamed and at unrest - I wish peace on Earth, and good will toward men.  (Though not a man of religion, I think Luke 2:14 was indelibly impressed into my brain by Linus, from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and that the sentiment is incredibly beautiful.)

Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays to all - whatever season there is to celebrate, I hope we can all find some peace with each other, and an ease of mind (if only for a moment) that we all deserve. 

Now, to find some of those old Rankin/Bass Christmas features, and really start getting down with Santa Claus.



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