It Came Without Ribbons

‘Twas an odd Christmas indeed for me this year in this land of total strangers. I didn’t deck the halls with boughs of holly. I didn’t string lights. I didn’t attend parties or wrap gifts. I left no cookies out for Santa as I knew that this year he’d pass on by. It’s hard to put on the ritz for a party of one. Instead I went to work.

While others donned their ugly Christmas sweaters, I was struggling into a pair of coveralls that make me look like a prison inmate. While others were drinking egg nog and singing carols, I was wiping the grease off trunions. While others were watching It’s a Wonderful Life, I was removing grime from buffer landings and striker plates. Drawbridges don’t clean themselves, don’t you know.

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Before you start feeling sorry for me, though, I have to say that I was actually quite happy doing all this, and not just because of the double time and a half pay rate. Although I had been braced to feel completely sorry for myself, somewhere along the way this feeling washed over me. It was the purest, most sincere sense of gratitude I’ve ever felt in my life. It actually brought sappy little tears of joy to my eyes.

After a couple years of pure hell, it suddenly occurred to me that in actual fact I’m in a really good place in my life right now. I’m not sure how I lucked out. A lot of it really was total dumb luck. But here I am, reaping the benefits regardless.

I’ve got the best job I’ve ever had in my life. I’m living in a really cool city. I’ve got my dogs, and a nice, safe place to live. I get to sleep at night like a normal person for the first time in 13 years. Things are really quite good. The rest will come.

At some point this made me think of that scene in the Grinch where he realizes that even though he’s taken all the material things away from the people of Who-ville, somehow he hasn’t managed to steal Christmas. Whether you’re a Christian or not, much can be learned from that story. Gratitude and love are what counts in this world. All the rest is just frosting. The cake is the thing.

And I do feel gratitude and I have love in abundance. Life is good.


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11 thoughts on “It Came Without Ribbons

  1. Carole Lewis

    From all of us near and far, those that you may know or not, we share a common bond of community. If we read you, we are a part of your world, we are fortunate that you share all of your world, open and free. I Thank You for sharing all your gifts. You are blessed and we are also by the knowledge of you. Have a very Happy Birthday and onward and upward into the New Year!

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