Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

The Present is a Present

Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? (Clarence Odbody, It’s a Wonderful Life

Above: The very stuff of a fulfilled life: family.

In a few recent conversations, many a friend and family member have held a careless disregard, a scornful view towards the year that is (and is soon to be, was). Time and again, I heard the same tired refrains:

This year is just the WORST.

I am SO done with 2020.

Ugh, I cannot WAIT for 2021. 

Indeed, even Netflix has hopped on this banal, overcrowded bandwagon with a new special entitled Death to 2020.

In the midst of these conversations, I’d politely laugh, flash a masked smile, and mutter a word or two of assent.

Afterwards, however, my acquiescence didn’t sit well with me.

How could I stand by while family and friend flippantly, carelessly wished away our most precious, fleeting asset: our time.

I came to challenge, object to, and resist this easy, lazy pessimism.

After all, what use is shooing away the present as though a gnat or similar pest?

For, as we stumble along, time marches apace.

Time resembles the parent holding the hands of us stubborn, fussy toddlers; always dragging us along, tugging and pulling no matter our feeble protestations.

Among the many things 2020 taught me was why “May you live in interesting times” may be construed as curse rather than benediction. Additionally, this year has shown how delightfully few things—no, feelings and people—I need to be happy.

I need no more than roof overhead; food on table; health of mind, body, soul; and loving repertoire of family and friends.

I am blessed and thankful that I have these most days; that I have these today.

I don’t know much, however, I know that this is the only December 25, 2020, that will ever see the light of day.

Relish it.

Immerse yourself in it as though it were a good book or old photo album full of yesteryear’s memories.

Make it count as gift not only to yourself but also to those in your proximity.

Take it from none other than Herb Brooks:

I cede the floor and leave you with the wise words of two angels who walked the earth a long time ago:

Clarence Odbody

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Two Laughs To Go

❄️ The Simple Joy of Anthropomorphism

🧝 This Week on “Fathers Embarrassing their Children”

The gift of your time and attention is incredibly precious. Thank you for subscribing to—and reading—White Noise. It’s a privilege to occupy some space in your inbox, your thoughts, and perhaps even your conversations. It truly is a Wonderful Life.

With sincere gratitude,