Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Quest

Yesterday, I headed over to my aunt's house to partake in a Christmas tradition with my mum, aunt and wee cousins of making Christmas sweets together. As I left my flat to make my way over to the train station, I suddenly realized that I hadn't accounted for the heavy bags I was carrying and it would take me longer than usual to get to the station. Frantic to get there in time, I started an awkward shuffle run my bags slamming into my legs threatening to trip me at every step. A short ways up the road, and knew I wasn't going to make it. There was less than ten minutes to the train and I still had a steep hill to climb. And then, my Christmas miracle happened!

A cabbie pulled up besides me and the driver yelled for me to get in. Not really thinking, I obeyed. "Going to the station, are you? Well, I'll get you there in time. The next train doesn't come for another hour." And he proceed to drive me to the station and refused to take any money. Those few minutes were all I needed and I did make my train and got to spend a most lovely afternoon with my family.

Full of surprise and downright shock over the unexpected kindles of a total stranger, I gushed to my friends online as to how perhaps the spirit of the season was indeed alive and well.

Then I woke up this morning to the news of two firefighters who were fatally shot as they responded to the scene of a house fire. Two others were wounded and as the story unfolded it became clear that the shooter had set the fire to lure out the first responders. Today. On Christmas Eve.

All of the euphoria over yesterday's event seemed to drain right out of me. "It's not such a wonderful world after, is it?" was my query to the online world. What was the point in being silly happy over something ordinary like a generous cabbie when there were bigger, far more horrible things were happening that need our more serious attention.

But I have very wise friends, and one of them gently pointed out that both events happened. Both truths are true. The important part is that I get to choose which of these will touch me most deeply and change me most persistently. Sometimes we hone ourselves because of negative experiences and sometimes due to positive ones. Always our choice. 

Her words made me pause and think. 

Yes, there is an awful lot of horror in this world. But at every step there has been a teeny tiny glimmer of hope. Each time there is some kind of disaster, be it natural or manmade, humanity finds a way to shine through. Neighbours organized community Thanksgiving meals after Hurricane Sandy   and in the wake of the unspeakable horror of the events in Newton, CT, the #26Acts campaign was formed. 

So perhaps hope is still alive. And as long as at least one person hopes and believes in a better tomorrow, isn't that enough to keep the evil at bay? In the words of a very wise wizard, "It's not great power that that can hold evil in check. Rather, it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." 

If a hobbit can face a dragon, I can find the courage in me to face the dragons of this world. And I know I won't be alone. All of the mighty quests involved a fellowship. There will be others, and we will help each other if one of us should stumble along the way. 

It's going to be a Happy Christmas after all. 


Beth A said...

I'm with ya!


Heathcliffs Girl said...

It truly is shocking/ surprising how kind gestures make one pause and wonder! Although these days I am more suspicious!
Happy Christmas!

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