Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas miracle full of Christmas cheer??

Christmas is in 11 days.  For the first time in a very long time, I can't find any of that Christmas cheer.  I just finished watching the Christmas episode of NCIS (yes, I enjoy that show!).  I'm sitting here listening to Christmas music and it all seems empty.

I think that my favorite Christmas memory was in 10th grade.  That was the year that I got to meet my biological family.  Before this year I had spent Christmas with my adopted family.  And I love them so very much.  I always loved the feeling of being included into their family; I never felt left out in any way.  I still enjoy spending time around Christmas with them to this day.  They mean the world to me.  But this particular year was different.  I spent years wondering about my biological family.  I was filled with so many lies about them.  In 10th grade my great grandmother (Nanny) finally came clean with me and told me the truth.  That truth was that this family missed me and wanted to know me.  She finally stopped hiding me from them and them from me.  I met with my grandparents earlier and they invited me to spend Christmas with them in Reading.  I was nervous!  My Uncle Joe, Aunt Donna, sister Krissy, and cousins Kelly and Amanda would be there.  I only had a small memory of them; I think that I blocked much out from so many other wounds.  My mom drove me there that morning.  The last thing she said was that if I felt uncomfortable to call and she would come pick me up right away.  That didn't happen.  In fact, leaving at the end of the night was hard.  I walked into my grandparents home for the first time in so many years and it felt strangely familiar.  I looked at photos on the wall of Krissy, Kelly and Amanda.  Right along side were the few pictures of me that they had.  Around that time my grandparents had put in a pool in tieback yard.  In the cement next to the pool was a penny from the year of all of our births.  The fact that I was included in that felt so good.  My grandfather took me to the basement to show me something.  Each of the girls were given a bottle of champagne when they were born for their wedding day.  Right next to it was my gift from when I was born.  The bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey for my wedding day.  When they had no way to know where I was or if they would ever see me again they saved this bottle for me.  These things made me feel so loved.  That day I was reunited with a family that I thought to have been lost.  I remember feeling so loved and cared for.  I don't think that I will ever forget that day.  I've spent every Christmas except for one with them since.

For years I have been the guy to start listening to Christmas music by Thanksgiving.  I had my desk at work decorated with lights and whatever small trinkets I could find.  I have always loved this time of year.  I love going to evening services on Christmas Eve.  I love decorating the house.  I love spending time with both of my families and my friends.

Right now, I'm finding it hard to find that Christmas cheer.  I can't seem to enjoy Christmas music, no matter how much I try.  Thanksgiving away from home was hard and Christmas is proving to be worse.  It's compounded with a decision that I recently made (I'll go into that later).  Sufficient to say, I'm struggling much more than I anticipated.  I sat outside tonight and starting to wonder why I'm here right now.  Why am I not at home with family.  Right away I thought of my day today.  I went to town and played a card game with a street boy named Sammy for a while.  It was a boring game to be honest.  But it was his favorite and he wanted to play so I played.  I've had so many experiences like this.  I know that I'm here for that reason.  I think to the conmen outside the Posta and how I've been standing up to them despite their threats.  I think to the dozens of kids and adults that I've talked to about that and how I'm slowly showing them what it is to stand up to evil.  I know that what I'm doing here matters and it is making a difference.  Still, I'm struggling so much more that I thought I would.

It's funny; this is the first Christmas in nearly a decade where I'm not working 16+ hour days or traveling all over the country.  I can actually relax and enjoy a fairly stress free December.  And a small part of me almost longs for that because it means I'd be with my family on December 25th.  I keep think to 11 days from now.  I'm going to spend Christmas Even with some boys on the street before going out to dinner with my family here in Kenya.  Christmas morning I think that I'm going out to a home that Transformed International runs to spend time with the kids there.  After that, we're having Christmas dinner at our compound.  I'm excited for these things.  At the same time, I'm dreading it.  I'm dreading that lonely feeling that is already beginning.  The feeling of not sitting at the dinner table with family.

Maybe a Christmas miracle will bring an extra dose of Christmas cheer?  


  1. OK why did you have to make some kind of strange fluid come out of my eyes.

    Love Uncle Joe

  2. Uncle Joe, that 1st Christmas with you all is one of my fondest memories. The malaria aside, Christmas this year was really hard. I love everything that I've done over here and that I'm continuing to do. Still, not sitting down to dinner with everyone honestly made me cry.