Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In The Spirit of Christmas

Last night I had to go to the funeral home to say goodbye to a man I had grown up with. Actually, I had grown up with his younger brother and younger sister. He had been one of those unattainable schoolgirl crushes. For the sake of the story, I will call him "John."

His younger sister had died young, after a raging infection set up in her diabetic body.  And now his mother was burying another child.

I may have made mention of the neighborhood that I grew up in. The close knit group of friends who's ages spanned nearly 10 full years.  The family that shared our circle had three children, a girl my age, whom I will call "Pam", a younger sister, and a brother who was 2 years older than me.  He was a popular jock, and other popular jocks often congregated at their home. He had are large iron weight set with a base worthy of any gym around. Afternoons were often spent hanging out on the perifery of this group of young men, trying not to get in the way but still being close enough to be notice.  John was one of those boys.

I had been 12 when I moved into this neighborhood and I don't really remember much happening until the summer I turned 13. Every day our culdesac was filled with cars, boys all new to driving, and the collection of cars were as diverse as they were.  Pam and I were the envy of our friends, a giggly group of pre-teens who would have given their eye-teeth to hang out in the driveway and observe.

As I crossed the threshold of the funeral home, I was suddenly 13 again. The boys are long since grown, with families of their own. All welcomed me with open arms, like a band of big brothers welcoming a little sister back into the fold. The first to greet me was an old band mate, a drummer. The last time he had seen me, I was well over 60 pounds overweight, and he complimented my weight loss. He told me he had heard what Darling Hubby had done, but that I was "better off" and obviously thriving. In my high heeled boots,  I towered over the two Italian boys I had such crushes, on back in the day. The oldest commented not remembering me being so tall.  The younger was every bit as handsome as I remembered, with his thick black hair and chocolate eyes. An unexpected hug from one I did not immediatly recognize caught me off guard, but I soon realized that he was the son of one of my mother's friends. His wife is obviously a very good cook. The boy from my neighborhood, who had told me that one day I  would break the hearts of men, greated me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Then his wife, who had never met me, did just the same.

They all congregated at the space between the door and the casket and swapped stories about John.  And they all had one. Funny ones, som that had to be shared in whispered tones, so as not to offend. His mischevious side, his wild streak, his compassionate nature.

I wonder if John ever knew what he meant to his friends.

So with that in mind, I challenge you, dear reader, in the true spirit of CHRISTmas to set aside your differences with those who have slighted you, bury the hatchet with those who have wronged you.  Tell those whom are special to you, that you love them, and then love without limits. Forget the hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment. Forgive the shortcomings. Be willing to meet that old enemy halfway. Be the bigger person. Make the first move.  CHOSE to live the rest of your days in peace, positivity and happiness.

Life is too short.
Go out with no regrets.

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