As I sit surrounded by my three canine pals and write tonight’s blog, I reflect on this holiday season and what it means to me. I am not Christian. My mother was Jewish, but my step-dad was of Christian background (Protestant), so during this holiday season we ‘celebrated’ both holidays by having a menorah and a Christmas tree. As far as real celebrating goes, we didn’t get into any of the true meaning of either. That was for me to pick my way through as I got older. My mom’s take on it was that it was really a ploy for Hallmark to make money. Maybe she’s not far off.
We all know, and I hear said over and over, that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. When I hear this I can only assume people mean it is supposed to be a time of year of special kindness, generosity, love, caring, forgiving and other peaceful traits that Jesus would have put forth. Yet what most of us experience are stress, greed, lack, worry, fear, and often unkindness of our fellow human. And I know this disturbs most of us.
What disturbs me, though, is that I try to practice the above mentioned things all year round–not just this time of year. I’d imagine that’s really what Jesus was hoping for? Not just one big spurt of energy in the dark time of the year just to get your blood running. Once a good and very devout Catholic friend of mine once told me that I was one of the best Christians she knew. I was humbled.
But I digress. Why my title? I have always been a gift giver. It never took just Christmas for me to give gifts. I do it all the time and often surprise people at the most unexpected times and for the oddest reasons. Sometimes people accept well, sometimes not. I personally do not receive well. Something I’ve been working on over the years. People give not only to make the others feel good, but because it feels good to give. I suppose that’s why many do token giving this time of year.
Everyone knows how much sadness there is in the world as of late. I personally work so hard in my life to try to be happy and joyful. It is an uphill battle in my own personal life. If I don’t even look beyond my own struggles it hard to stay upbeat. But I can be having a wonderful day and then turn on the radio or computer. It can quickly come crashing down because of what is going on around me. Some people may be able to compartmentalize their life and shut out the rest of the world’s struggles. But I can’t do that. I feel everything on a soul level.
Some things do give me consistent joy though! And one of those things is the joy I feel when I’m around my dogs. I live alone and have tried many, many times to be in relationships. I’m done with that arena. But my pups are my constant companions. I had two before yesterday but had been contemplating for some time getting a third. One of mine is getting older and I like to transition a new one in before he goes. And suddenly everything seemed right.
He was on the Humane center’s website and I was sure he would be gone by the time I got there. But I guess he was just meant to go home with me. A couple said they saw him at the shelter last week too! I can’t believe no-one wanted him. My other guys are going through some adjustment, but it will be OK eventually I’m sure. They are all pretty good-natured. It has been nutty walking three, but I will manage. And I’m worried about him during the day. He’s had some accidents, but hopefully he’ll figure it out. My kids are around now and they said they would help….hopefully it’s true.
Many think I’m nuts, but they don’t live with dogs. They have no idea the peace they bring to ones life. I know I can’t travel like they do, but I don’t care to do it. I love my home with them in it. My ‘vacations’ are right here with them. Dogs add a level to our understanding of the world because they use senses we do not. If we tune into them they help us to heal, learn, love, be calm, and share. Sometimes they even save lives. And in return we give them shelter, food and hopefully caring and love back. Small price to pay for the utter devotion they give us. Tell me one human that gives completely like a dog does?
So, welcome Pippin. Welcome to our family. You’ve already filled my heart with your silly little looks, kisses all over my face, your leaps and bounds and gruff bark. You were so easy to love! And you loved me right back. How easy was that? And took away all the sadness I have been feeling for the world. Thank you. And Merry Christmas.