The house is quiet tonight. I'm here alone. My family is all at the Titans game (thanks to the generosity of two separate friends). I had a Church commitment, so I didn't go. (Hello to Dorothy, by the way!)
I'm sitting in front of our Christmas tree, listening to my beloved Manheim Steamroller Christmas album. It's peaceful and warm. The lights are out except for the tree and some little Christmas village pieces. I just squinted at the tree, because I like the way it makes the lights blurry. Doing that reminded me of another time I squinted at the lights.
If my life were a movie, the camera would show me in the living room, then it would show me looking at the tree. Then it would zoom in on the tree and the lights would get all blurry as I squint. It would zoom back out and poof! It's a flashback.
I'm in a small, dingy apartment in New York City squinting at Christmas tree. I'm skinner, less gray and less happy. It's about nine years ago. I'm sitting by the tree typing. But I'm not checking emails or writing blogs or books. I'm frantically typing a term paper for my History of Education class. I'm hurrying because I still have to do papers and exams from American Theatre, and Dramatic Theory and Criticism. If memory serves, I will type around 70 or 80 pages between final exams and term papers.
I'm working full-time, going to school at NYU in the evenings, and trying to fill a demanding Church assignment.
The house is quiet because my family is off somewhere having fun.
I'm fighting depression and pretty major anxiety. I'm exhausted and fatigued, feeling overwhelmed with financial, academic and personal challenges that I won't go in to here. I can't describe the pressure and stress I feel. It wouldn't make sense to anyone else. But to me, they were terrible.
The camera zooms back out. I'm in my own home now. I have a wonderful job that I love. My degree is finished, bringing a sense of accomplishment and security. Finances remain a challenge, but things are more stable than they were then.
I'm typing for fun and enrichment, not on a deadline, and I'm typing using wireless internet!
I don't know what future Christmases will hold--what memories will be there when I squint at the Christmas tree next year and the next. But I am grateful for the peace and happy circumstances this year. Things aren't perfect. They never are, and never will be. But, I am grateful that they are better than they used to be!
Wherever you are, I wish this for you: that this Christmas is happier and brighter than last, and that next is happier and brighter than this year
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