It's Christmas eve, the traditional 'Man Shopping' day. Wait till the last minute, and then storm the gift shops for tragically forlorn Pez dispensers, and maybe search the home supply store for vaguely suitable stainless steel carving sets from the bargain bin.
Such is not for me today. Over the last few years, everyone in my life who lived for "What did you get me?" has gone away, to be replaced by just a few close friends and loved ones; Folks who don't judge their own worth by how much others spend on them for Christmas. I don't need to do any last minute shopping, at least not for gifts to lay on the alter of greed and self loathing.
Today will be spent packing and moving... and working towards a real gift. A new home, a new beginning, and a good life. Not a transitory 'thing' to be wrapped in a colorful box, smothered in flashy expensive paper, and bound with a plastic ribbon and a polyester bow, but something important and valuable. Life, in all it's possible goodness and joy.... what can be a better gift than that? Not given, but shared, which makes it all the better.
Those people most important to me now don't publish their Christmas wish list for toys in hopes 'friends' and admirers will cough up a stack of cash and buy them a moment of fleeting consumer happiness. No.... when asked what they might wish for Christmas, the answer is likely to be "How about we get together and cook dinner for each other... and spend some time together?"
So..... moving chores today, and with a smile on my face. Yes, shopping, but for cleaning supplies and silverware and some warm lamps to light our new home. Blue skies to enjoy, briskly cold and clean air to breath, and a vast horizon in front of us...
Yes, a Merry Christmas to all my friends, and may you truly find peace and happiness now and always. I'll be right there ahead of you, blazing the trail.