December 24th, 2007
As we head into Christmas and then the end of another year, it would do us all some good to pause and consider the one thing that remains inescapable in our pursuits. The one thing that is a constant, always passing us by, always with us chasing it. Unfortunately, it is like chasing a vapor in the wind and no matter how we try to manage it, it always seems to manage us. It is the great equalizer that cuts across cultures, eras, and political differences. It is time, and as always it is running out.
The world can beset us with priorities, some very real and some fabricated. We constantly have more and more things attacking our time. We work longer hours, play less and then constantly lament that we simply do not have enough time. It is of course just an illusion. The truth is that we have as much time as we are granted by God but while we are here on this mortal coil, we can choose what to spend our time on. When you find yourself mourning over not having enough time you need to examine the choices you make that lead you to that point. Life is ultimately about choices, not time.
Are the divisions that separate us important? Absolutely. Are the latest disagreements about politics, morals, or policies important? Absolutely. Are these things more important than your family? Are they more important than those that you love? Are they more important than actually enjoying life as opposed to commenting on it? Those are the questions we need to ponder as we close another year. Don’t ever be so busy observing life that you fail to participate in it. The things that seem so important today will be long forgotten as time passes on.
There is so much the separates us in America today. We are right or left. Conservative or liberal. Republican or democrat. We are different creeds, cultures, races and religions. We dress differently, talk differently, live differently, love differently. We celebrate differently, mourn differently, and value differently. We spend so much time and energy worrying about what we think matters, our differences, that we rarely stop to realize how much we have in common. Amidst the differences we all over-focus on, at our core and in our hearts, we are more frighteningly similar than we realize. Spend some time this Christmas season concentrating on what brings us together instead of what drives us apart.
There is nothing worse to most than regret. What will you regret in your future? Will you really regret missing the latest debate on global warming? Will you really regret missing the latest debate on whether Hillary or Rudy makes for a worse candidate? Or will you regret, as you stand over a grave, words unsaid to someone you cared about? Or even worse, words that were said in anger. Political problems will be a constant. Disagreements will always be there. Debate will always be available. But sometimes we only get one chance to make something right. Sometimes we only get a specific amount of time, to right a wrong. Or to tell someone they are loved.
We take things for granted. In a me-centric society we lose sight of what we already have in the blinding pursuit of what we think we do not have. Those who are married wish for some solitude and those who are alone long for a touch from someone who cares. But remember for those who hate their jobs, there are those who are unemployed. For those who cannot afford to go out to eat there are those in line at food pantries. For those who wish to live in a better neighborhood, there are those who have no place to call home. Yes, the old adage of “it can always be worse” is very real and true. Take a moment this season to really think about what you do have, not what you wished you did. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
We are creatures of love America. We have an inherent desire to love and to be loved. Perhaps some more than others. Perhaps some have become calloused from the scars life can leave in its wake. But even the most hardened, battle scarred person deep in their hearts just wants to be loved. Reach out to someone this season. Love someone this season. The powers that be will always tell you why you need to hate people. Somehow we always have time for hate. Make some time this season for love.
This is not meant to be a message of guilt but one of hope. Hope is eternal. I have spent a great portion of my life as a hopeless cynic. It is hard not to when you see the cultural and political landscape collapse around you and you see so many in such pain. When you see what is reported in the media and embrace the evil that can lie in the hearts of men. But remember that the unreported side is the inherent goodness that also can lie in the hearts of men. The random acts of kindness that happen every day but go unreported. They not only matter; they should matter more to us than they do. They cut to the heart of what we can be in this country. They are what are at the center of the hope which we must grasp for as a daily pursuit. This hope recently came back into my life this season and I write in the hope that it can be reborn in yours as well. The year 2007 will soon be over and America will gear up for an important presidential election year. We will have plenty of time to discuss what we disagree about in America. It is all an illusion though. The only real differences are between those who are so jaded that they have lost their hope and those that still hold on to the inherent goodness of man.
The clock keeps running and time moves on. Make a choice this season to embrace hope. Tell the ones you love what they mean to you. Tell the ones you disagree with that they still matter as people (yeah! hug a republican, I said it!). Focus on what you have and be thankful for it. Remember that what you choose to do will determine what you have time for, not the other way around. Politics may divide us but love can still bind us, even if it is just for a season. Merry Christmas to all and a hopeful New Year, filled with promise.