I’ve had that time and energy thing biting at my ankles over the last couple of weeks. Now, in most ways, I just don’t care all that much when times like this hit. I can work around my lack of motivation and focus pretty damned easily…but not with this blog. The sad truth is that when time and energy fail, so does blog-writing. Or, at least, blog-writing in a timely enough manner to get posts up when I should.
But that’s not what I sat down to write about today. Nope, today I sat down to write about Thanksgiving…and about what goes with it.
I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but most of the time my life ain’t exactly an unending series of blessings and goodness. It is, in fact, fairly hard to get all excited and thankful when you know the down side of up better than you know any lover…
Shit, just to give an example — most of you probably remember that I took some temporary work a few months back. Well, that job quite kindly gave us all the day off for Thanksgiving. How nice! If we wanted to get paid for the “holiday,” however, we had to use our own fucking vacation time! I’d love to say that was one of the worst and most stupid things I’ve seen over the last few months…but…well…not even close. All that little gem of a policy was worth was a shrug and a mutter about typical managerial asshats and corporate greed.
And for this I should be thankful?
Yeah, my lead-up to the holiday wasn’t great. As much as I love the winter, and the holiday season, I just couldn’t get excited this year.
So I did something to myself that I do to my characters all the time: I changed the situation. I changed the rules.
Screw the regular Thanksgiving rituals, I decided. Screw the turkey, and the football, and the food-coma. Screw, more importantly, the self pity and frustration. Screw the expected. It was time to do something different.
I spent my Thanksgiving serving at a homeless shelter.
It wasn’t happy. It wasn’t warm & fuzzy. It didn’t lead to some “road to Damascus” moment. The scales didn’t fall from my eyes, and a chorus of angels didn’t suddenly start singing in my ears.
No, it wasn’t any of that.
It was a reminder. A reminder of where I could be…but am not. A reminder of all that I could lose, and haven’t. A reminder, in the end, of that trite and overused — but still powerful — phrase: “but for the grace of God, there go I.”
There go I.
I’ve talked before — in this post — about the fact that, but one or two changes in my life, I could very well be one of the “clients” of that shelter. I could very well be that dirty, crazy guy on the corner, that guy holding a sign and begging for enough money to get a meal and a roof for the night.
But I’m not.
No, instead I have my life. I have my toys, and my hobbies, and my little nerdy obsessions. I have my stories and all those little ghosts in my head. I have, when it really matters, my writing.
And for that I truly am thankful.
PS — And, yes, of course there’s a song for that! By the way, I actually was at the concert this particular video is from…thank you, Red Rocks!