Nanea wasn’t perfect — neither are we!

15 11 2015

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love this time of year.  When I told my brother last week that I was already listening to Christmas music, he told me that I live for Christmas!

Not quite – but almost!

One of the reasons I love the holidays as much as I do, is because for 54 years, thanksgiving and Christmas have been all about family.  And I love family!

Growing up, my paternal grandmother was central to our family.  She was a ‘big’ person, and I’m not talking physically!  Her presence loomed large, even when she was miles away; and she occupied a great deal of emotional space in the lives of all who knew her.

From the perspective of a little boy, she made Christmas everything it was supposed to be.  When we’d pick her up at the airport, her arms were always full of bags – Sees chocolate lollipops, Quality Street caramels, and brightly wrapped boxes from ‘big city’ department stores.  She was always loudly laughing at herself, stumbling through the door of the aircraft and out of the gate, making her way toward her eagerly waiting family.

On Christmas she’d put on glittery, sequined clothes that just made her look . . . literally, out of the ordinary!  Striking grey hair set high upon her head, big gold earrings and necklaces, and always, the scent of ‘Tea Rose,’ her favorite perfume, entering a room mementos before she did – as if to announce her arrival!

Sadly, the heights of the joy that came with my grandmother’s arrival, were usually matched by a deep and rude anger that often signaled her departure.  By the end of yer trips, she would begin to silently mourn the season’s end, someone would say the wrong thing, and all hell would break loose.  Pent up frustrations would be vented, tongues that had been bitten for two weeks would find freedom, and harsh words would be spoken.

My grandmother passed away in 2001, and for several years I harbored a great deal of resentment toward her.  But that has all passed, and today I’m drawn to remember only the good!  I remember the laughter at the dinner table on Christmas Eve, chicken wing lunches at Lebros, dancing at the Ramada Inn on New Years Eve, and a New Years Day dinner at the Clarkson House.  Call it a maturing experience of forgiveness, or a deepening understanding grace, but either way, I’m beginning to come to see that my grandmother was really no different than any of us.  She had her flaws, most likely the result of a childhood that included some form of abuse.  But she also brought a great deal of love and laughter to her family.  Most importantly, she raised my father – the man who, during the most formative years of my life, taught me to live life with passion, to always think of those less fortunate, and to never neglect  . . . family!

None of us are perfect.  All of us have a flaw or two. (I might even have three or four!) But there is always good to be found. And even though we might sometimes have to dig for it, discovering it and learning to appreciate it, as opposed to dwelling on everyone’s flaws, really does makes life so much more enjoyable!

Author James Truslow Adams wrote about it, and recording artist Amy Grant sang about it – “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us, to find fault with the rest of us.”

I’m a broken, flawed, imperfect child of God.  My thoughts and opinions aren’t always consistent, and sometimes they may not appear to make sense.  My faith is MY faith, and so it reflects MY journey, which is no doubt a little different than yours. I occasionally get frustrated, and have angry moments more than once a week!  I’m a perfectionist, which drives some people nuts; and my closet and dresser drawers . . . they are beyond neat, so don’t go near them!

But even the worst parts of me have some good!  And ya’ know what?  The worst parts of you have some good too!

So today . . . this holiday season . . . and how about all of next year . . . let’s all try to focus on the good in one another!   If we could just do that more often, life might be a little more enjoyable, and the world might take the first step in becoming a more loving and just place to live.

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