The Little Things
It may seem odd to write a blog post, especially one for a blog of this sort, in the very early hours of Christmas Day. Full disclosure, I had intended to write something fairly typical of the “holidays are coming!” theme earlier this week but real life got very seriously in the way. It would be even more odd to post those thoughts now so I’ll file that away in the recesses of my mind where memories go to get lost forever.
Rather, what’s on my mind tonight is a sort of afterglow. Due to some particular circumstances, we actually are pretty much done with the “Christmasy” activities by the time Christmas Day dawns. We usually spend a very quiet restful day in the 25th. So as I write, the dinners have been attended, the gifts given, the hugs passed around, and the snubs dished out.
Why do I use the term “afterglow” then? Was everything pleasant and cordial? Nope. The usual suspects were usually suspicious and very little took me by surprise. But I’ve come to be more and more philosophical about both the bad and the good. It took years (and a near death experience) to get here but I’ve pretty much got folks sorted out. It’s been said “those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter” – I’m not going to say that has no exceptions but as a general principle it’s spot on. I find myself much more warmed by the few who have adjusted to me than I am offended by the many who still think they have the right to exercise a veto on my life. I notice, of course, I am only human. But I don’t allow them the privilege of causing me pain.
Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. Power. When another person is allowed to create pain and distress in your heart, on purpose, you’ve granted them power they are not entitled to. Ann Landers used to say “no one can take advantage of you without your permission” and the same is true of giving offense. No one can offend me whom I’ve not given permission to, and I’ve learned to reserve that permission to a very select few.
(Please note, when I say “offend” I do not mean that I take no notice of ATTEMPTS to offend. If someone on the street calls me “tranny” I do not grant them permission to cause me emotional pain – but i note well and object to, when necessary, the ATTEMPT to offend)
I say this with the awareness that some among us well and truly have lost everyone, and I hope we as a community always strive to do better about connecting with them. But at the same time, too many of us talk ourselves into the idea that no one loves them, even when it’s not the case. Don’t let the lofty cliches of this season overwhelm you to the point that you lose sight of those small, quiet blessings that make all that other jazz matter.
Photo by Finn Frode