A Spirit Of December

Sometimes pictures display things well.  It seems this, below, would be a fitting way to start December here.  It’s not suited for everyone, maybe it’s not even a choice of people immediately at hand; but, this is what people may see (and hear) and think.  So, here’s an introduction to December.  It’s called getting into the spirit of things. 

There are times geared to thinking of others. 

Headlines

The daily news grinds on, hour after hour with this or that notable, terrible, odd or otherwise newsworthy thing happening. And, every few hours (depending on what a person has arranged for himself or herself) some of it pops into view on a paper or a television screen or comes by word of mouth or maybe some rare way.  The thing is, the headlines go on and on about something that maybe is quite unknown (personally speaking).  It’s particularly noticeable in the celebrity news.  In some cases it’s even to a point where some well known or important person has died, and it’s the first time the name was heard.  

The way the talk is going, there’s some stuff going on (totally incomprehensible) on which empires may fall – not just presidents and kingdoms, but empires. The empires have not really been determined yet.  Chances are, if such happens, it will happen with a lot of people at a loss about what is happening, permanently or at least pretty much so.  Reading about it is useless – there’s talk of nations not known and things not known (soccer is one such thing) as if everyone and the relatives all know what is under discussion.  It gets especially fractured when titles and names are a bunch of alphabet letters. 

Furthermore, even if something is explained, many things are so complex these days they are beyond any layman’s understanding.  The stars for example, are awesome, but this kind of star and that kind of star without a lot of explanation is beyond anything but a scientist.  The same is true of medical breakthroughs and financial affairs.  The only thing not too complicated is some sports, as long as it’s a matter of someone watching someone else (often very well paid) doing it.  Age may be an important consideration in understanding; but, if a study of that has been undertaken, it’s not readily available. 

It can be hard to keep current. 

Abandoned Building

The apartment building underfoot has about a hundred and sixty apartments. A few have more than one person in them.   Allowing for any that may be vacant a while, like a couple of months for some reason such as a need for some time-consuming repairs, it can be relatively safely said that the place has a hundred and fifty people in it, roughly, at any given time.  That allows for someone who belongs in the place not being there for some reason.  In medical cases it can be a couple of months that a person is gone, although usually if a person is ill enough to be gone for that long, they don’t make it back. 

Now, admittedly some of the people are rather confined and rarely go beyond the door to their apartments simply because it’s too much hassle to be pushing some contraption like a walker.  The point here is, not everyone is limited, but there are times when the place has an air of an absolutely abandoned building.  Not a soul is in any of the common areas, including the hallways and coming in through the door.  Not a sound is heard from any apartment if one does walk down a hallway.  No animals are being taken outside to do their business.  And, it isn’t at strange hours of the night. 

One can do something like go to whatever area has vending machines or down to the lobby area to mail a letter.  The emptiness is so apparent that one feels like one is alone in the huge structure at hand.  In some more commercial areas a big apartment building may have a few people coming or going in very late or very early hours of a day; but, in more residential areas, especially on days like Sunday, the aloneness is stark.  A few people may go to church or shopping in the morning; but, by late evening there’s no activity anywhere visible.  And, it is then when distance is most apparent. 

Life is in a corner of the universe.   

Personal Days

All people have “personal” days.  Those are the days that were in some way of importance to a person.  They might be birthdays, a wedding anniversary or day of special remembrance in some other way, including what some might see as “negative” days to celebrate.  There is such a thing as the day a divorce decree became final or the day one quit a hated job.  Even days applicable to a group of people like a day of ordination or military commission are personal  days.  All those named are happy occasions in some way.  They are times to pause and reflect and maybe have a party. 

There are other personal days as well that are sad.  The day someone (even some thing) beloved died is also a personal day.  While sad times are a touchy situation that need to be handled carefully, it seems foolish to try to ignore an event such as death in a family.  There should be some acknowledgement of the happening, especially if it was a rather unnatural thing, such as accidental death.  It’s not always possible to do something like visit a cemetery to pay a measure of respect, and for that matter see that everything is in proper order there.  Something else is needed. 

The matter is uppermost in the mind of yours truly at the moment as when it happened that a parent died many years ago, it was just about at the same time of the day as it is right now as this is being written.  The death certificate does list November 28, but it was either very early in the morning or very late on the 27th.  It seems in hindsight it must have been on the 27th, but there is no way to prove it easily if at all with not being there and after the fact.  It’s always somewhere around Thanksgiving as a result, always making the time sad.  It’s a time to pause to remember. 

Time does not wash everything away.   

Black Friday

They say the reason it is called “Black Friday” is because it’s a day when stores expect to make a profit from people who do not bother giving enough attention to Thanksgiving, if you come right down to it. Apparently some people just down the food, throw the leftovers into the refrigerator and have their minds on doing Christmas shopping as soon as possible – at least starting the first thing in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving.  Whether anyone saves any money with “Black Friday” sales and the like has to be open to question.  Maybe so, if what is bought was intended in the first place. 

It seems like it would be a lot better if one could simply figure out some gifts a lot earlier in the year so that only one or two need to be purchased just before the holidays.  How many gifts are really needed?  If a family has two or three children there might be two for each child and a few for other relatives….  Ten presents on a list could surely be accumulated fairly easily so that there would be no need to be looking to rush out the door before the Thanksgiving leftovers have a chance to cool off in the refrigerator.  Evidently, however, it doesn’t work that way for many people. 

It really is not surprising that there have been Christmas decorations up and down the halls of the apartment complex underfoot for some time now, while the Hallowe’en pumpkins are still decorating the lobby and Thanksgiving turkey cutouts put on the walls for Thanksgiving are still on the walls.  Life is terribly jumbled by such arrangements, with the only good thing being it should be all cleared out of the way around Easter.  One has to wonder how can someone really comprehend what they are doing and why.  There’s a strong suspicion it is not really meaningful. 

There’s usually some good in everything. 

People In Our Lives

There have been other weblog entries touching on and regarding the subject of the people in our lives, but few times are more pertinent to that subject than a holiday, especially one such as the one celebrated today, Thanksgiving Day.  A discussion (again), would seem to be in order, even though it was only about a month ago there a fairly long commentary.  In regard to Thanksgiving itself, it’s a gathering for a feast most often among the people most immediately at hand, which, of course, is the family and it’s extension insofar as those people may be included. 

Simply the fact that it is among family most immediately at hand can easily bring to mind those who are not at hand – the people in our lives who are not there.  As mentioned before, one is born and there are others around at the time.  As time passes, in the normal order of events, they die and leave people only with those who are born around the same time as they were or later.  Apart from a person very close, such as a brother or sister of near the same age, there is then no one known for all of the lifetime – an early childhood friend, maybe, a cousin somewhat possibly. 

And, one day one may say something to the effect of the reality that there is no one who has been known to him or her for his or her entire lifetime.  It is then a special treasure if in old age there is still someone “out there somewhere” even if only rarely seen, who has been known for all of one’s life (at least within one or two years); at the moment, yours truly is still so blessed.  The things that are remembered do not need to be explained.  They’re already known, maybe with slight differences, but still there is little need for explanation or relating it to the present or one’s personal experiences. 

Some memories are easy come by. 

Thanksgiving, 2010

 

Special days are needed.