Arriving home

The family is sleeping in this morning. It’s a welcome let down after a busy month of holiday related activities. Ours are not self-imposed.  When you direct a preschool team, when you are the organist for a church, you are expected to deliver a “holiday spectacular”. 

Pastor Carrie Smith summed it up nicely with her church newsletter. http://bethanylcnewsevents.blogspot.com/2013/12/bethany-lutheran-church-merry-christmas.html

In it she talks of the twelve days of Christmas that begin with Christmas Day. Twelve days of quiet, no bulletins, no meetings, time with family, and my families’ favorite, sleeping in.  When you think about it, it is a miracle how much work goes into what Dr. Seuss called a “whobilation”. 

Give thanks to all the retail clerks that tried to match us with the right gifts, to the servers, cooks, and rest of the support staff that fed us as we ran to shopping, activities,  and  the rest of the preparations, to the multitude behind the cameras, writing the copy, recording the film, and the rest of the production that make those in front of the cameras look so good. I met so many people working hard just doing their jobs trying to make this experience as pleasant as possible. 

To those who think yours is just a job, just a means of support, just what I have to do because it’s all I could get, let me tell you from the other side of the transaction, it is work that matters.  Jon Acuff in his books Quitter and Start gives guidance to working your way to your dream job keeping in mind that your dream job may be the one you now have.  As Robert Schuler said, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Gratitude to those who you meet every day, serving you with their work, and appreciation for the job you have and the ability to serve others, that is the Christmas spirit you can carry throughout the year.

“God bless us everyone.”

Emotions raising to a fevered pitch.

You can almost feel the excitement in the air … or maybe it’s just in the media all around us. Emotions are running the gamete. I saw two cars collide in a parking lot (actually more of a bump than a collision) and the drivers gave each other a hug and went on their way. I saw another driver turn the wrong way up a parking aisle to beat out a car coming down the aisle looking for a spot. You can see the very best of behavior and the very worst.

The feeling on Twitter is one of missing the season. @Larryis2fab4u, “Christmas was more fun when I was younger.” One of my sons echoed that sentiment. @emilymosenson, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas time.” I’ve heard that one a lot this year. Maybe it has something to do with how quickly Christmas followed Thanksgiving. It can’t be the weather, because at least in middle America, we’ve had lots of cold and snow. Out east, not so much. @chanelthick, “2 days until Christmas and I’ve never felt less Christmassy in my life.” Still there’s hope. @imJCMarquez, “Finally felt the Christmas spirit today, almost Christmas everyone.”

It’s Christmas time. You are going to be around the people who know how to push your buttons, yank your chain, send your anger into orbit. The key. Keep it in check. You know they do it. You know how much you hate it. Challenge yourself. I can control it. I don’t have to let them control me.

Have a Merrier Christmas.

Past results are no guarantee of future performance.

If you have ever read the prospectus of a mutual fund, you will usually find a disclaimer to this effect right after the historical financial data. For people, it would not be a bad thing to have tattooed across their foreheads.

The courtship was wonderful. He was chivalrous, kind, protective. She was lovely, sweet, adoring. They enjoyed each other’s company, and the chemistry was right.  The progression to marriage seemed so natural. 

For some, the wedding seems to have flipped a switch. For others, it may take longer or be a slow degeneration away from behavior that drew the two together in the first place.  Past results are no guarantee of future behavior.

Some children look at their parents and all of the fussing and fuming and fighting that goes on, and they wonder how those two people ever got together in the first place.  For many of those children, since the fussing and fighting seems to be over them, they think that the parents would fall in love again if the kids just weren’t around.  It’s a silly notion, but kids just want their parents to be happy.

Family and home are often interpreted as being the “safe haven”, the place where you can let your hair down. You don’t have to stand on pretense here. You can vent out the frustrations of the day.  Except when those frustrations are being transferred to a spouse or child, and the venting takes the form of personal and sometimes physical attacks.

You can’t yell at the boss, so you yell at your spouse and kick the dog. You’re really still pissed at that guy who cut you off in traffic, and now your kid’s toy is right where you want to walk.  And often because home is the “safe haven” where you discharge your anger, you begin treating the people there, the ones you love, worse than you treat total strangers.

It’s all about being aware of your feelings, your emotions, and letting go of them before you walk into your safe haven so you can keep that place safe … or risk losing it.