Getting Ready . . .

I remember being a child in a classroom and reacting to the sight of the first snowfall. All the kids ran to the window. Completely amazed. And of course, the teacher instructed us to return to our seats. I swear, sometimes I feel like a kid in a classroom, just waiting for a big snowfall.
I want to see something worthy enough to run to the window and hear the “oohs and ahhs” of the room. I want to feel amazed. And it’s wintertime now. I’m grown and yes, as old as I am, I am still youthful, hopeful and wishful enough to think about the times when I’d try to catch a snowflake on my tongue. 

We are moving into a time of the year when my emotions run like a scheduled train. This is not to say that I do not enjoy this time of year because I do. I enjoy the lights and the decorations. I enjoy the ideas of peace and love unto us all.
I have a place in my special memory of a time when I was young and in a cab stand. I was waiting for a ride to the hospital. It was this time of year that The Old Man was about to pass away. I was only 17. I was only a kid or better yet, as I saw it, I was only me. 

I know why I used to steer away from the light of life. I know exactly why I avoided the truth because both the light and the truth exposed the darkness of my lies.
There was a conversation that took place between God and myself. I explained that since prayer was nothing that I knew about, I was going to speak.
I didn’t know how to start this conversation. I didn’t know if I believed in God or the power of prayer. So, I thought I would give it a shot.
Or, maybe this was me simply pleading with myself. Maybe my prayer was an action to overcome the fears in my head. 

I would have made a deal that night. I would have signed on the dotted line or any line for that matter. I would have agreed to the terms of God or anyone that night. The reason was I didn’t want to lose more of what I didn’t have. This is honest, by the way. I know that I speak highly of my Father and I honor his name with respect; but this does not mean there weren’t unresolved tensions between us. There was still so much more to say. Then again, there’s always more to say when something is unresolved. Hence, I suppose this is the reason why I write to you. I want to say it all. I want to put it all out there so that when it’s time for me to settle with the house, I will have left nothing unsaid (especially to you).

I have this picture in my memory bank. I am sitting inside of a dirty room, waiting for a cab across from the bus station. It was snowing out. In fairness, the world was a beautiful place that night. Even at an ugly time, the snow fell quietly and the scene was beautiful.
The heat was on inside the cab stand. There was a little television inside the waiting area. The walls were painted a light gray, which was dull and dirty. The carpet was gray too but the years of foot traffic was enough to wear the carpet down. There were chairs at the wall around the room. There was a window with a man behind it whose body odor smelled of someone without underarm deodorant. He was behind the glass, speaking over a radio to his drivers and yelling loudly with an accent that was difficult to understand. 

The story of Jesus was on television. This version was the made-for-television special, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Above the television was a small Christmas tree with a few large bulbs that were red and blue. 

I couldn’t believe the serenity of the view because although the cab stand was not a sight of cleanliness, the view from the window of snow falling was quiet and peaceful.
How could this be?
How can anything be beautiful in times like this?
How is it that when it seems like the world as we know it is about to end, everything else keeps on moving. The clock never stops. The delivery trucks still make it out in the snow. And in New York City, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the carolers and the upcoming midnight mass, which I wondered about that day, were all moving according to schedule. I thought about the irrevocable warmth that must be present from the pews of a big church. I thought about people turning to one another and saying, “Peace be with you.”
I thought about the love and warmth and the light, which I avoided because of my fears and my inability to sit comfortably amongst silence or peace because of my chaos within. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the world was still moving. Everyone else was about to celebrate and me, I was on the verge of loss and at the starting point to the rest of my life.

As I write to you, I consider this report a sign of growth. I think of the different stages of difficulty in which we are born.
We enter into our life, we grow and we see. We experience and we learn, which is not to say that all of our lessons are accurate or correct. But still, we vary through life. We move like tides, in and out, until someday; we find our purpose. We find our destiny and then suddenly, everything makes sense. 

Every year around this time, I post two telephone numbers. The first number is (929) 777-5685. I offer this number as a place to leave text messages for those who struggle during the holidays. This is not a professional offering. Instead, this is simply a place to vent or reach out. The number is not intended for emergency services. It’s just me. It’s anonymous and it’s a number that you can text and I will text you back.

I offer this because sometimes the light and the love is lacking. Sometimes it seems as if darkness prevails. And I can’t promise that this isn’t true. I can’t ever tell someone that everything is going to be alright. Because guess what, sometimes things are not okay. 

I offer this number because I do not ever want to be considered as someone who says but doesn’t do. So, this is me doing.

The second number I am about to offer is the number to a very special friend of mine. He says it’s okay. He told me to tell you to call at any time and that you should leave him a message.
I have wishes for this time of year. I have things I’d like to say but I’m not sure where or who to say them to. I have hopes and sentiments of love that I send into the atmosphere with hopes that the universe will take this and transfer my message.

I don’t know who to ask for the things I want. So, I choose to go back to a time of purity. I choose to go back to a mindset where belief conquered doubt and hope was charitable enough that I could believe.
I choose to go to a mindset of purity, like say, when I was young and sitting in a classroom and ran to the windows to see the first snowfall.

Each year, I choose to believe, which is why I call this number.
The number is  (951) 262-3062.
This is Santa’s personal hotline.

I call every year and tell my wishes but these gifts are too big to fit under any tree. These aren’t gifts we can buy. None of what I want is sold in stores anyway. In fact, the things I want most are free.

I want to heal, which I have. I want to see people reunited and connect. I want to see parents and children and loved ones together. I want to see the past be nothing more than the past and that at last, we can move forward and be at peace with each other. 

I can say that it took me a long time to appreciate this time of year. I do not look at this from a religious perspective. However, I do look at this as the season of giving. I suppose what I would like most for this year is to be able to give the spirit of hope because quite honestly, I know what it means to be hopeless.

I will leave you with this:
There is nothing in this world as comforting as a hand on your shoulder. There is nothing more warm than the love and the light of your spirit and without this, I know the world would be a cold place.
So, I offer this to you in a sense of humble friendship: you are not alone. Not now. Not ever. And not on my watch. 

Dear Pop,

We’re coming up on a special anniversary soon. I’m sure you understand why I’m going to share this with people. I think it helps.
I know it helped us. 

Love always,

Your son


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