Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Perfect Christmas gift

When I was a kid, I thought the perfect Christmas gift was something having to do with toy guns and the Army. My generation was the baby-boomers of WW2 and the Korean conflict and we watched Movie Stars save America from the Axis countries on TV, most every night. My brothers and I wanted to join the effort to fight the bad guys, so we all asked for toy guns so we could practice.

As I entered Jr. High School and “Stingray” bicycles came onto the scene, I wanted one of those real bad. Real bad. The high handlebars and banana seat on a 20 inch frame was the coolest thing I had ever seen. A couple of boys down the street had mini-bikes, but that was out of the question. All I wanted was one of those bikes. It was the perfect gift.

Along the way, gifts came and went. Baseball gloves, penny-loafer shoes, varsity-style jackets, dart boards, board games, and “groovy” school clothes. Christmas was all about what I received and I took little thought to what I gave. It was about me and “the perfect gift” I would receive and I reckon this was normal, as sad as that sounds.

Years passed and the Texas lottery arrived, I occasionally gave into the temptation and purchased a couple of tickets. If the amount was 4 million, or 50 million, I would daydream for hours about what I would do with all that money. I would entertain myself with what “perfect gift” I would buy for myself and it usually would go full circle before I thought about what kind of gift I could give family and friends.

A new car for this one, fix up the house of that old lady, buy some groceries for a poor family, why, the list was a mile long and I soon realized I couldn’t fulfill all the needs before I ran out of money. I would then devise ways to make anonymous “gifts” which couldn’t be traced back. I spent quite a few hours mulling this over. It became tedious.

All the while, I would return to that “perfect gift” I would buy for myself. A new giant pick-em-up truck with all the trimmings, so I could be secure in my new found riches. Of course, I would need a giant house built for my bride and then set up some kind of management system, so the “gifts” would keep rolling in. I would need a Harley and a big bass boat (and I don’t even fish).

About 3 years ago it suddenly hit me that I didn’t want to win the lottery (not that I could turn it down). I think it would mess up my life. About the same time, I discovered what was meant by “it was more blessed to give, than receive”. What a novel idea! I had heard and read this so many times in my life, but never took it at face value.

I guess honest confession is good for the soul.

I live a comfortable life with very few needs and truth be known, very few wants. As I age, I realize it’s not in the abundance of earthly pleasures that gives meaning to life, but in the abundance of peace and tranquility that truly defines happiness. A warm smile, a thank you, a hearty laugh from a stranger, a sunny day with a cool breeze offer me more than all the gadgets usually found under the tree.

As the year comes to a close, I’m hoping and praying that the gift I am able to give to friends, family and strangers is me as a better person. I’m a man of strong opinions and it usually erupts volcanically in the form of acerbic and downright mean remarks. People who truly know me often suffer from my angry outbursts, sardonic gibes and sullen nature and for that, I am truly sorry.

So, for Christmas this year and the future, along with the conventional gift-giving, I hope to make this world a better place by giving the perfect gift and the only one I can truly control, me as a kinder, gentler and friendlier person. Merry Christmas everyone and may the Lord Jesus Christ bless you richly!

1 comment:

polona said...

thank you for letting me discover your blog.
there's some very interesting reading and i'm sure i'll be back.

happy christmas!

The older I get... No regrets please.

The older I get, the more I realize how much time I've wasted that could have been productive. Not for one second do I think ...