There are some things I’d like for the New Year. I know that’s not within your usual bailiwick, and you’re probably pooped from a long sleigh ride, but if you don’t mind…
First, please give me good health.
My body carries me faithfully from before my birth until my last days. I abuse it and overuse it. I overfeed it and undersleep it. Yet rarely do I appreciate it. Nonetheless, it usually works amazingly well. It doesn’t seem to smile as much as I’d like (and it’s not quite the size I wanted) but in all modesty, it’s pretty cool.
My eyes can enjoy the magnificent pink of a rich sunset. My nose can inhale the deep, full scent of a spicy stew simmering slowly on a blustery winter afternoon. My ears perk up to the reassuring tap-tap-tap of light rain on my roof in the middle of the night. And the touch of a lover’s hand on my skin, can in a moment, calm and excite me at the same time.
Remind me that whatever else I have is worth nothing without my health. When I bend without pain or breathe deeply without effort, make me smile. Let me remember that this is the truest, purest blessing of all. Through this miracle of life, I experience all the universe has to offer.
Secondly, please strengthen my connection to family.
There are those who came before me; and there are those for whom I am responsible whom I will never meet. Even so, we are connected. In that chain, I am a vital link, the entirety of all that has gone before me and the bedrock of generations still unborn. Each in that string is a part of me as I am of them. We are all of the same stuff.
Through the ages and across the miles; today, yesterday, and tomorrow; we will guide each other when we are lost, and we will pick each other up when we fall. Everything I do reflects upon my ancestors and shapes my children of future offspring. I am inextricably connected across time. Remind me each day to take time for my family.
Teach me to be a better friend.
Along my path, I have picked up lasting gems of beauty, some in the oddest and most unlikely places. They vary in color, shape, and age. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but some have faded from memory, yet they all share an inner beauty and spirit to which I find myself drawn.
For each, give me respect. Fill my heart with love at their sight. Make sure I return to them what they so willingly lend to me. Remind me to tell them more often that their lives have brought wonder and joy to mine.
Lastly — but maybe most importantly — give me faith, especially when I feel weak.
At such times, point out I am not alone; my focus has merely narrowed. Remind me that, as my mother used to say, all things work toward the “greater good.” That which seems so bent and twisted in the immediate will soon straighten out. Give me patience as it does.
I guess, in re-reading my list, I really already have these. I forget. So, if there’s a way you can send reminders, I’d appreciate it. Let me notice a moment of quiet in the midst of a noisy day, paint for me a rainbow against the darkness of a late afternoon sky, or let me overhear the elated giggle of a baby girl overjoyed with the simplicity of a bright red balloon.
Be patient please, it sometimes takes a little while before I listen. I’ll work on that.
Special note: I originally wrote this piece in a longer form in 2002. If you would like to see the original, you can go to http://www.scottqmarcus.com/temporary/Holidays/santaletter.htm