|-- Photo by Greg Conderacci|
Before the holidays vanish behind a mountain of used wrapping paper, Amazon boxes and post-Christmas sales, I wanted to share one of the most moving experiences of the season.
A good friend and all-around great guy, Buddy Emerson, read this reflection at a meeting at Catholic Charities of Baltimore, where he has long served on the board:
As I write this prayer at this very special time of the year, I can’t help but think back so many years ago when I used to write a letter to a very famous individual who lived in the North Pole and who was so very important to me at Christmas time. The letter would be done again and again to perfection to make sure my requests were just right. They were so specific and yet appreciative to insure my requests would be honored.
The years went on and the requests for skis, books, toys (occasionally clothes) and so many things I thought I could not live without were sought and fortunately for me -- often rewarded. I have to admit it was not until I was much older -- maybe 10 or 11 -- that I began to even ask for gifts for others. Mostly, I must confess -- it was all about me.
So as I prepared for today, I thought I would use the same approach and work just as hard to create the perfect prayer just as I did when I wrote those all-important letters to the North Pole.
· Please encourage me to be a member of society who seeks to be a peacemaker and a healer in times of contempt and confusion.
· Please grant me the wonderful gifts of empathy and compassion that can be quickly put into action no matter what the circumstances.
· Please help me to be a caring friend who knows how to say and do the right things when needed by others.
· Please allow me to be the stranger who comes around at the perfect time for someone in need.
· Please counsel me on how to be a better Board Member ever giving of myself in spirit as well as financially.
· Please endorse me as a person who is known for what he stands for as opposed to being recognized primarily by whom he works for.
· Please encourage me to be a coworker known for his trustworthiness, loyalty and support of my fellow coworkers.
· Please guide me to be a spouse who is always aware of how very fortunate I really am and help me to be truly loving and supportive of my partner.
· Please instruct me to be a parent who is patient and understanding and who always listens first and holds judgment for a long, long, long time.
· Please support me as a grandparent who truly enjoys and relishes one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive – grandchildren - and imbues the future generation with unbridled love.
· And lastly, I would ask to always be a child of God who realizes we are all gifts of God, with purpose, a right to dignity and respect -- and all so very equal and important in his eyes.
Well, as I look back at this and mentally compare it to my earlier letters, I sadly note one thing that is so very apparent. It is still all for and about me.
I guess some things never change. Amen.
— Ralph W. Emerson Jr.