Monthly Archives: November 2017

Spread the love.

A couple days before the holiday is probably the worst time to ask what you can do to help.
Most charitable efforts—small or large–to assist and serve the least fortunate among us are conceived, funded, orchestrated and staffed months prior. You wouldn’t decide to throw a birthday party for your kid a couple days before the big day, would you?
Nonetheless, everyone wants a piece of that giving feeling. Nonprofits and soup kitchens, struggling all year for consistent help and support, often have too many last minute offers to place and fill during the holidays. Every parent strives to find a teaching moment for their kids between Thanksgiving and Christmas, too often walking away disappointed when there’s no room for them at the inn because everyone else also wants to use that holiday inn as their teaching tool.
You know what would help?
Choosing another month during the year for your family. How about March? Or September? Maybe sign up to serve in the heat of mid-July when the kids are out of school and can see first hand what it’s like to be homeless and hungry in the desert heat? Bring money you and the kids have saved for this experience all year long.
You can make any month Thanksgiving or Christmas for those who most need a special meal, good cheer and the hope of the season—every season.
Just an idea from someone on the inside. And not a bad one, methinks.
But hey, anytime you’re willing to spread the love is a good time, sooner or later.

Conjuring Christmas.

You know what really scares me?
Not the holiday itself but that each successive year, despite its ever earlier encroachment, it takes greater effort each year to summon a holiday spirit or conjure up a bright seasonal emotion which for decades was effortless.
Before Halloween has always been unreasonably out of the question, but before Thanksgiving they say, is now increasingly expected if you’re to enjoy the full value of the magic even though 58% of the country is still well over 73 degrees.
I say it’s just a little scary when it takes this much work to get happy.
So I went to WalMart.
If anything says Christmas in October, it’s WalMart, but then I found myself shopping retail for the best buy on a holiday spirit.
Then I turned on the radio station.
If I wasn’t snapping into the season quick enough, 24/7 carols sang the tune, but then I questioned if a song alone could make such an instrumental shift.
Over the weeks, I tried several near misses, disappointing myself every turn. Baking, decorating, bad sweaters, none seemed capable of the transitional trick.
I talked with Mom about it and she shared with me some memories of earlier Christmastimes when the magic didn’t seem so difficult to come by. I called my kids and chatted about it some and we laughed a little at remembering their first Santa Claus moments. But it was when my son away at school said he was coming home for Thanksgiving, I felt things inside me change, much like that moment in the Grinch, and it was then I encountered the obvious truth. Christmas isn’t created by things and stuff and trappings. It’s inside people.
It’s our special stories, our humored histories and the little searches we Google in talks with one another as the season begins to change and we grow just a little bit closer.
And then suddenly one morning, that little something tips the scales just enough to conjure the Spirit we sought all along. And for the first time of the season, and certainly not the last, we utter our first “Merry Christmas” to a stranger, and indeed, it has arrived.

a modest proposal

I have a modest proposal.

Let recovering drug addicts choose our leaders.

We are uniquely qualified for the task.
Having lived years of lies, deceit, thievery, skillful manipulation and faulty reasoning, recovering addicts are the most adept at smelling bullshit before it ever sets foot in a room or on a stage.

We’ve nothing left to lose because our addictions have taken it already. We’re impartial to the party, only to the raw revelation of honesty and good reason and we will go to any lengths necessary to find it in another. Our motto is “principles over personalities” and our goal is to see the emergence of integrity. We don’t acquiesce to emotional appeals or spins on the truth, but call them on the carpet. Our training was perfected while imprisoned, on the streets of selfish coercion, and usually both. Recovery has made all our secrets public with nothing left to hide or to hide behind and we understand what is freedom and what is not. We are all veterans of a war who walked away victors and are among the most vigilant combatants on behalf of others in the world.

We know the enemy because he is who we once were.

By nature, it takes a keen set of skills to become an addict and a ruthless pursuit of humility to escape from it. We know when someone’s under bad influence, on something, onto something, or just needs a few sobering days in jail. We let people be flawed and forgiven but not rescued.

We demand integrity in one another and are the first to recognize when it slips. We are accountable to no special interests but only to the power of the One higher and smarter than ourselves. And most importantly, we know that sometimes losing is winning.

This is my modest proposal.