I worked late tonight, trying to get caught up with program changes and other stuff from being out Friday and Monday.
It was dark as I drove home. I called home to let them know I was on my way, then I turned on NPR and listened to Fresh Air with Terry Gross - talking to Frank Schaeffer. It was a repeat of an interview I heard earlier in the day, but well worth listening to again as he talked about his life, George Bush, growing up in Switzerland, and his memoir, Crazy for God. It's apparently just come out in paperback and I think I need a copy.
Part of my drive takes me through downtown and the past the chain of parks. The Christmas lights are up and glowing. I guess the Winter Festival has come and gone and I've missed it again because I wasn't paying attention.
November and December are like that for me. Have been for years. This year has been a bit more overwhelming than others. There's the digital and HD transition to get through. We're in the middle of a pledge drive that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I'm supposed to be training other people to do some of my job so that A) I can actually take time off around Christmas and not think about work at all and B) when Beckie retires, I won't be shouldering her work all by myself. She's leaving just before Christmas. One trainee is (hopefully) having her baby in the next couple of days. One will be training with me Friday, but will be gone for the holidays. The other one has spent a grand total of two hours with me. My goal is to get her up to speed enough to handle emergencies during the winter break, but I'll have to get all the work done before I leave. Budget cuts say we can't hire a new person - the old position is being eliminated. So I have to make do with taking the time of other already-existing employees who have full time jobs already.
Luckily, we're a fairly adaptable bunch. We'll make it work.
But in all of this, I seem to be losing Christmas. Usually, by this time, the stirrings of excitement are fluttering around my heart. Goodwill towards men... and children and people who need all the goodwill the world has to offer.
I stopped with the Christmas cards a couple of years ago because I could never quite seem to get them out the door and into the mailbox. I have no idea how much money I have tied up in unused Christmas cards around here. In years past, I have dressed up as Santa and taken my boy shopping for Toys for Tots. I have no desire to don the suit this year.
We haven't decorated the house or gotten a tree - and unless Darling Man and ZBoy take the bull by the horns, it might not happen.
There is nothing I want for Christmas - and with a couple of exceptions, I have no idea what to get anyone as presents. I am tempted to just put a moratorium on Christmas presents this year.
Will the Christmas spirit descend on me this year? And if it does, when?
This post sounds depressing - but I'm not depressed. Just kind of overwhelmed by life at the moment. And Christmas feels like one more "have to" to me right now.
Except for this... When I got home from work tonight, there was an envelope sitting on the end table. I picked it up and noted the return address.
It was a Christmas card. First one. Perhaps, to be the only one.
And inside was a note from one of my brothers' former girlfriend. Expressing gladness that she'd met us and that we were a part of her life... even if my brother chose not to be.
And somewhere in the depths of my heart, I felt a faint stirring. A minute joy that somewhere out there was a person who, despite the odds of a happy holiday, did indeed have the holiday spirit.
I hope that it's catching.