His eyes opened slowly. The haze of the previous night glazed over him like freshly fallen snow coating the ground. Another night he can’t remember with a woman he doesn’t know. Life had not been the same for him ever since the day he realized how naive he had truly been. What a fool he had been thinking that the stories he had heard about the world after high school were actually true. Going to college, meeting lifelong friends, finding true love. What a Joke! The only thing he had found in two years of the “real world”, was a broken heart and a love for alcohol. This time, however, was different. He knew that he was at the brink of self-destruction, but he did not want to end up like those before him. He sat in silence, with only two options racing through his mind. Surrender or Survive? Surrendering would be easy of course, but surviving would be a true test of his strength as a human being. True fulfillment in life encompasses many factors, one being the ability to rebuild after being broken down to your smallest form. He had no idea where to start that night, but he knew that he would start at that moment. As he stood to walk out on this dark chapter in his life, the door to the dorm room began moving closer and closer towards him. A bright, blinding light pierced through the cracks of the splintered door. As he shielded his eyes, almost blinded by the light ahead, the room went pitch black…….His eyes opened slowly. The cries from across the house pierced through the air like and arrow. As he rose out of bed, he glances over at his beautiful wife, sleeping quietly next to him in bed. Reaching the opposite side of the house, he opens the bedroom door to his newborn daughters room. The bright light he had just encountered was now aglow around his daughters crib. He had had the dream again…the dream that reoccured every now and then to remind him of his blessings. It had taken almost seven years, but as he laid next to his wife, coordinating his breathing with that of his infant daughter, who was sleeping on his stomach, the light surrounding his little piece of heaven shined brighter than ever!
As we approach the first Christmas holiday in which our 22 month old daughter can truly express her excitement for the story of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of Santa Claus, I am reminded of the toll of grown up slowly chisels away at our ability to imagine, dream, and believe. As we grow older, we tend to become disenfranchised with the belief that we are able to accomplish anything that we believe in. Last night, my family and I watched a movie in which the main protagonists, a brother and sister, set in to action a plan to challenge a nationwide ban on believing in Santa made by a mean spirited politician. This ban on Christmas had slowly drained Santa Claus of all his magical powers. While the story line and the acting were not Oscar worthy, the politician, played by Kevin Pollack, provided a great example of how life and the many trials we face growing up, can take away are ability to look at life through the same eyes we did as a child. A life full of disappointment and negative events had caused him not to believe in the things that were once important to him when he was younger. As I look back on my life, I am reminded of many negative experiences, including an alcoholic father, being bullied due to my weight problems, poor self esteem, the death of many important people in my life and failed relationships in the past. However, now that I am a father, I see the innocence in my daughters eyes, the way she sees the world, not knowing of all the problems going on outside of our home, with the economy, war, poverty, and a world full of others who have lost that twinkle in their eye. She has made my outlook on life change sue much in the two short years that she has been here. In life, our mark on this world we live in should not be determined by how much we have , but by how we use the gifts we have to inspire! So rather than dwell on negative things this holiday season, enjoy watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and all the other holiday classics (I have watched each of these at least 8 times with my daughter already!!)