Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Wish, Christmas Eve, 2005

These days, no one asks me what I want for Christmas. I don't exchange gifts with my brother or sister. Only one person gives me a Christmas gift, and she decides for herself what to get. But, although no one has asked me what I would like, I'm going to tell you anyway. It's a short list. There's only one thing. A Christmas wish list of one. If I could have whatever I wanted for Christmas...

...I'd ask for...

...are you ready?...

...get a pen out...

...I'd ask for...

...(this is it):

Hell to freeze over.

No, wait! I'm serious! All I want is for Hell to freeze over. And I'm not being flip. I. Am. Dead. Serious.

How many times have you heard words like these:

"Loan him money? Hell will freeze over first." (Maybe him is a brother.)

"Hell will freeze over before I give him another chance." (Maybe him is a lover.)

"Talk to her? Ha! When Hell freezes over." (Maybe her is a mother.)

There's so much that is undone, unsaid, unexpressed in this world, waiting for Hell to freeze over. It's a colossal pressure, laced with venom and bitterness, roiling behind a dam: The dam of waiting for Hell to freeze over. I wish it would burst. I wish for a great thundering roaring release of words and emotions and second chances and tears, and even anger. All it would take is for Hell to freeze over.

I'm not naive enough to believe that Hell freezing over will create a world of peace and perfection. It will free people, not change them. The brother who squanders money may still squander that loan that's given him. The lover who cheated may cheat again after being taken back. The abusive mother may still abuse after being approached. But in each case a step will have been taken. Right now the feet are unmoving, waiting, waiting, waiting... for Hell to freeze over. When Hell freezes over they will take a single cathartic step. Once the feet begin to step, who knows where they may go? Who knows what might happen? It can't be worse than the caustic silence of waiting for Hell to freeze over.

Hell freezing over won't solve all the problems of the world. But wouldn't it be a helluva start?


Friday, December 23, 2005

Sixteen years ago

I am one who puts everything off until the last minute. People like me are especially penalized at Christmas. We are the ones who the week before Christmas are creeping in traffic jams, hiking in from the back forty of packed parking lots, pushing through crowded stores, standing in snaking checkout lines, plodding from store to store looking for those items that everyone seems sold out of, standing in out-the-door lines at the Post Office, and desperately sending out Christmas cards with just a signature because we ran out of time to write notes.

That's us.

But sixteen years ago, for one glorious year, it was different. For me, anyway. I got my shopping done weeks early. I got everything wrapped and shipped in plenty of time. I had all my cards done and sent. So the last week before Christmas I was on idle and loving it. Life was goooood. What made it even better was seeing all the other last-minuters struggling and cursing and suffering. Yup, the icing on the cake of good life is seeing others who aren't partaking because they weren't as smart as you were. To be done early is human, to gloat about it is divine.

Then, sixteen years ago tonight, I took a walk with my friend Judi down her street. It was bitterly cold (for Florida), and we were bundled up. Her beagle, Bailey, had escaped from her yard a while back and had had a fling with a terrier, and six weeks earlier he had become a father. Judi thought I should have a dog (I wasn't so sure myself), and since these were Bailey's puppies I had been promised one. On that cold night sixteen years ago tonight, I was going to pick one out.

We found there were only two left, a male and a female. When we entered the room, the male hid, but the female stood in the middle of the room and barked at us furiously. She was only about the size of my sneaker, and I have small feet, but she was absolutely fearless. "Bark, bark!" she said. "Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark!" I was charmed by her spunk. She left the house of her birth tucked inside Judi's coat, to protect her from the cold.

She slept that night on a towel in a cardboard box next to my bed. The next day was Christmas Eve, and I didn't have anything I would need to care for a dog. A kennel. Food and water bowls. Collar and leash. Food. Chew toys. Treats. Nada. So there I was, Gregory the Prepared, Gregory Who Had Everything Done Early (For Once), on Christmas Eve day, creeping in traffic jams, hiking in from the back forty of packed parking lots, pushing through crowded stores, standing in snaking checkout lines, and plodding from store to store looking for those items that everyone seems sold out of (where did all the kennels go the week before Christmas, anyway?). It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair.

I never did my Christmas shopping early again.

We named the little girl B.J. -- Brings Joy. And that little Christmas dog brought me joy for fifteen years. And you know, everything I went through that Christmas Eve day, sixteen years ago? It was so worth it.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005


  1. Intelligent Design got smacked down (actually yesterday, but I heard about it today).

  2. Drilling for oil in ANWR got smacked down.

  3. Student loans, necessary to keep America competitive in the world economy, got smacked down.

Hey, as miserably as the last five years have gone, I'll take two out of three and call it a pretty good day.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Please send prayers

If you treat yourself with Reiki while you are dreaming, does it count?

I have trouble sleeping, and when I'm awake at night I treat myself with Reiki to help me get back to sleep. Also, recently I've been sending Reiki to an "Internet acquaintance" who's having a bad time because of a relationship. Anyway, this morning I was lying in bed trying to sleep when I experienced what I can only describe as waves of mini-convulsions. Alarmed, I realized that I was actually asleep and dreaming that I was in bed awake, so I made an effort to wake myself up, and I gave myself some Reiki to calm myself down. Then I got out of bed, but weird things began to happen, and then I realized that I was still asleep and dreaming, and that meant that earlier I had actually been dreaming that I was asleep and dreaming, and inside that dream I had been lying in bed unable to sleep and having mini-convulsions. In other words, I had been dreaming that I was dreaming that I was awake.

If my explanation is confusing, don't worry about it (though you programmer-types may know what I mean when I say that I was apparently dreaming recursively). With great effort I finally woke myself up for real, and I wouldn't consider this worth posting about except that I got to thinking that after I had woken myself from the inner dream, but was still dreaming the outer dream, I had dreamed that I had treated myself with Reiki. Could that Reiki, applied during a dream, have had any actual effect? Normally, of course, things that happen in a dream don't have physical consequences -- if you drink water in a dream, you're still thirsty when you wake up. But Reiki is different. It's not bound by space, and some say it's not bound by time. Is it bound even by consciousness?

The experience has left me very energized. I'm going to send some Reiki for that Internet acquaintance who's having such a bad time. If you can spare any prayers for her, I'd appreciate it if you could send them. She could really use them.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Gift of the Magi

I was in a Hallmark store yesterday, and I noticed that they were selling a change purse made to look like a stocking. I suppose it was in keeping with the season, but it struck me as... mocking? Why would I want to buy a change purse that looks like a stocking when there are people too poor to own change purses, or wallets, and carry what money they have in a real sock?

I suppose it's the holiday season that makes it easy to feel melancholy. Is there anyone besides me who finds O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi inexpressibly sad?

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