I know you didn't ask, but...
My birthday is Christmas Eve; traditionally, I start celebrating with an Open House Brunch, providing friends and family who are doing their late shopping a quick respite from the holiday rush. My hope is it will add to both my memory bank as well as theirs.
After brunch, I take my family to a movie that has a thoughtful message that I feel is important for us to internalize and act upon. This year we saw Wonka, a movie in which dreaming makes anything possible.
I'm quite sure very few people who see it will cry; it's a fantasy film of a well-loved story. But with the way the world is right now, the injustices portrayed in Wonka of mankind against mankind, of wealth versus poverty and the very different opportunities in lives of either, touched my heart.
Before Wonka started I had a consequential encounter.
As the previews started, I went to the restroom. On the way, I saw a young man in front of me holding on to the rail, walking down sideways, heading toward his folded wheelchair leaning against the wall. He opened it, maneuvered into it, and wheeled it out in front of me. It was obvious that he wasn't with anyone; the theater was almost empty. He had waited for the previous movie to clear to enter.
In the hallway I shared a holiday greeting.
“Why are you wearing reindeer ears?” he inquired.
“It’s my birthday,” I gleefully responded.
‘It's mine too!” he gleefully replied.
“Really?” I asked, a bit taken aback.
He assured me, “Yes, it is.”
I shared with him my Born on Christmas Eve Philosophy: “I feel it’s the very best day of the year to be born. It’s filled with potential as it is a day full of past memories. I always feel people are thinking about those they knew and dreams they held before the excitement of the new Christmas day arrives.”
We nodded our heads in agreement; I remembered the reindeer ears on my head: I'd had them on all day to represent Santa Claus Coming to Town. I took them off, gave them to him, and wished him a year filled with joyful memories.
I think that's why I was unusually sensitive to Willy Wonka’s origin story. I know how blessed I am. I have my health, my family and friends, my creativity and imagination, all that supports me in the life that I have been blessed to be living. That is my true wealth.
This Holiday Season I want to ask you to consider how blessed you are to be living in this country at this time, despite all of its apparent weaknesses and challenges. Nothing is perfect. We are blessed and I believe it's our responsibility to do all we can to bring just one more little drop of solidarity to all Mankind and Mother Earth.
Therefore, my birthday wish is not about me, it's about us. Each and every one of us who is reading this probably lives a life of abundance in comparison to so many people in the world right now. Take a moment and ask yourself, “what is the issue that is closest and dearest to my heart?” Now ACT on it!!
Perhaps it is how many people need medical attention: Doctors Without Borders are willing to risk their lives to heal others. Perhaps Mother Earth is calling to you and asking that you put some of your energy in the form of money to one of the many causes that support the global climate crisis. Perhaps you have a sensitivity toward people who could get a gift from one of the organizations that supply animals to allow people to survive in places where there is a food shortage.
Look around you. Listen to the news. See the faces of those who are suffering. There is NO shortage of places that, if you reflect but for a moment, you can actually help more than shaking your head and saying “it's such a shame.” DO what you can to make one small gesture to give even just one person the hope of a new beginning and the New Year.
As Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us each and every one.” No matter who you are, no matter where you are, we are all citizens of the Earth and share a common destiny to help others in need.
Give someone an opportunity to share in your blessings for a new start in the New Year!