In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Friday, December 12, 2008

Trying to be happy about Christmas

It's getting close to Christmas and I am not even close to being ready. Haven't done much shopping for anyone as of yet but that's pretty typical of me, since I usually put any kind of shopping off for as long as possible. We bought our tree and will decorate it on Sunday with my sons and little people. We have been talking about Christmas with the little people...reading Christmas stories...working on our Christmas giving projects that I have talked about here and I have even been playing Christmas music(I am not much for Christmas music, please don't hate me for this!)...all these things to get happy about Christmas.

Yet, I am not feeling it. I apologize to all of you that are in the Christmas spirit and love all parts of it...I really don't want to be a downer. And honestly, if you were to see me in person, you would never guess that I am one of those people, not feeling the good cheer of Christmas. I am a real good pretender, not all but most of the time. I just choose to let it out here and try not to in my real life.

The holiday's are suppose to be a time of merriment and good cheer but sadly, for many it is not. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is a sad, depressing and difficult time for some people. In the last two weeks, I have been surrounded by people that feel this way and I am trying to do everything possible to not be affected by them. But, I am human and how could anyone with a heart not be affected by these things?

Last weekend a 34 year old man from our community was killed in a freak car accident. He left behind a wife and 2 young children and a very loving extended family and many friends. He was a volunteer fireman, a bus driver and a great person. Yesterday a huge crowd gathered to say goodbye to this man that had touched many lives. I know other's that have lost loved one's this past year also and I see and feel their grief as they try to figure out how to live without their loved ones, let alone celebrate.

At most schools, the students are happy that it's Friday but not at my school. They dread the time that they have to be at home. Many of our students live in less then ideal home situations...many live in war zones of fighting between parents and total chaos. This is not a merry time for them. Many do not have Christmas trees because the parents don't want them and see no need for them, since there will be no presents anyways. It's hard for these young people to not act out in defiance and anger because they see the choices their parents make to drink, smoke, gamble and do drugs, yet, they cannot afford to provide adequate food and clothing for their children, let alone a Christmas present. These kids see very little to be happy about.

For some of our students, the best meals they will eat in a week, are those given to them at school. For some, the clothes they have, are ones, we as a school provide for them. These kids come to us, hungry most of all, for love, acceptance and to feel important. When I hug some of these girls, and they smell and are so thin, I just want to hang onto them and bring them home with me. When they tell me that they love me, I know that for them this is a big deal because they trust very few people in this world.

I have been mentoring a 15 year old girl, that also gets to help me in my room. Up until a year ago this young girl was in and out of lock ups, hospitals, and group homes. She has completely turned her life around and because of her, her mother has been now getting her life together. She has never known her father, just his name. Today, she was helping me tape up some boxes of old files and we got to the last box and all of a sudden she says, "That's my fathers file." I looked up at her and her face was white as a ghost. There, laying on the top of the pile, was a file with her fathers name. We got the school counselor and she was able to give her a little information but other than that, she knows very little about this man. This young girl has been through more heart ache in 15 years then most people go through in a life time. I give her a ride every day after school and she makes comments about coming home with me. This week, she asked me, if something were to happen to her mother, if she and her little sister could live with me. People, how can my heart not be broken by things like this?

Today, one of my young moms and her little boy, that have been out sick from whooping cough, finally came back to school. She is so thin and worn out from being sick, working and parenting and still trying to do school work at home. I talked to her about getting a Christmas tree and her face turned to such sadness that it broke my heart...she told me that they aren't celebrating Christmas because there is no money for presents or anything like that...that it's easier to pretend it isn't Christmas. She said that she was thinking that maybe she wouldn't come to school anymore until after Christmas because it would just be easier that way. I asked her to please come to school and that we would figure out a way to get through this. I then I reminded her that someone was giving her son some presents and that I was planning to do something special with her and the other mom's next week. When this girl hugs me, it's the kind of hug that says she doesn't want to let go, that she is barely hanging on...but all I can do is hug her and let her go.

These incidents I share with you are just tips of the iceberg. While I am completely blessed in these moments...these opportunities...yet I feel completely lacking in being able to do enough...to love enough...to say what needs to be said...to really listen, and hear what they are saying to me...to have more to give them...these lost starving souls. Yet, they keep coming to me over and over again and if you could hear the kind things that they say to me, that just blow me away at times, you would understand what this does to me. I am praying constantly. I cry out to God and ask why.

Every day I see how blessed I am with so much. Yet, I see how little others have. It is hard for me to be of good cheer when I see so many that are poor in spirit. It seems so unfair for me to have so much, when there are others that have so little. These are the things that break my heart and cause me to cry daily. If you are someone that prays, please pray for these people I have mentioned here.

To end on a brighter note, my baby boy(he's 19)flys in tomorrow. I can hardly wait to hug him and see his smiling face. We are suppose to get hit with a good old fashioned snow storm this weekend so hopefully lots of playtime outside for all of us! I love blizzards...love being snowed in, so I hope my wish comes true! Please forgive me for being a downer and a scrooge...I really am trying not to be!

17 comments:

The Incredible Woody said...

You are a strong and courageous woman. I have not been around your blog for long but it has not taken long to see that.

You have a kind and caring heart and it shows through that is why the hurt, the tired, the sad come to you. They can see the caring in you. Even if you can't change their situation, it helps to have someone to lean on.

Stay strong. I, for one, will have you in my prayers.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This has really touched me. I don't know how you do it each day...this would really get to me also. I have such a big heart and am easily affected by those around me. You are doing a good thing, encouraging everyone. And listening....you really can't do more than that yourself. I DO pray each day for those that can't do for themselves. That they will get what they need.
I understand why you are having a hard time w/ the JOY of Christmas. We, as humans can do only so much. The rest, as you said will be up to prayer and somene higher than us.
take care.
So happy your Son will be joining you...enjoy the snow and for a time, forget everyone else and just LOVE on your family!!!!

Vodka Mom said...

It's a tough, tough time of year for many of us. It's also hard when you work with young people- you want to take them ALL home with you.


You're VERY cool in my book. very.

Claire Marie said...

You are actually reminding us what Christmas is all about. You are bringing home to our hearts the lesson that Christmas is about giving to those in need. This is an important post. If I had a million dollars it would be a check in the mail for you to do all the things your heart desires to do right now. Because I don't... my prayers are with you and those you care about. You affect me. Thank you.

Braja said...

Xmas is overrated. Life goes on and Xmas doesn't impact on millions of people, it doesn't stop the reality or the suffering. You've a right to feel any way you want, it's not a movie....indulge....

Bina said...

This is just so very sad. I feel so bad for those people. I was one of "those people" growing up. When we had Christmas, it was because someone gave us the tree, left food in a box outside our door, and donated presents, or, my mother got them from the Salvation Arm or something like. I had a horrible mother, but one thing I CAN say, she tried as hard as she could to make Christams special.

I'm like you. I would want to help every single person, and if I had the money, I would. My heart aches for them, and I think maybe that's why I couldn't do this type of work. I would be depressed all the time.

Jason, as himself said...

Wow. This makes me realize that even at the worst times, my life is a breeze compared to some.

I have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, too. I just need to get over myself.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

You break my heart with the stories you tell. And put everything into perspective.

I believe you are an angel.

swamp elf said...

Just writing about these things that trouble you has to help give your pain a voice. Not that it makes the problems go away, but it does help to deal with these situations.
I hope you get plenty of snow to play in and that you savor every second with that "baby" that has come to visit.

Laura said...

It's so hearth-wrenching to contemplate how hard life can be and the choices that people make that make it harder on the ones they are supposed to love and care for. A holiday wish of rejuvenation and strength and compassion to you and all those whose lives you touch.

Riahli said...

I completely understand this post. I go through these conflicted feelings at Christmas too. The examples you shared with us just broke my heart, I wish I could do more then pray for them, but pray I will.

I wrote about a man that was trampled to death on Black Friday in a post awhile back, and my feelings about this holiday season. I felt like I was being a downer too, but it's not that I don't like Christmas, it's just that there is so much sadness and hurt, loneliness and desperation out there that I sometimes feel like we shouldn't be celebrating if everyone who wants too can't.

You have a hard, but very important job and I am positive that you are changing more lives then you even realize.

Stepping Thru said...

So many of us have taken our eyes off what is really important - human life. We are so caught up in the material aspects of life that we have forgotten that we have a moral obligation to help those less fortunate. Thank you for reminding me that I need to take my eyes off me and turn my attention to those who are in such need. Bless you loving heart! I will keep you and those wonderful young ladies in my prayers. God bless you all.

midlifeslices said...

I have no idea how you do that day in and day out. I'd be bawling all the time and trying to take them all home which I know isn't the right thing. You are making a huge difference in those young people's lives. God bless you all.

ssg said...

Even this post is inspiring. I am not faced with such poverty everyday but it doesn't mean that I should just forget about it. When I read this post I wanted to send over a tree and presents, but how much help would that be? There is so much to struggle against in these kids lives, and you are helping in the best way possible. I think I would like to work in a job similar to you, you can really make a difference to people's lives. Can you tell some of your kids that people in other parts of the world are thinking of them? Do you have an address where we can send stuff?

thistle said...

This is a lovely, moving post. I am dealing with a client who has a sister with some addiction issues right now, and her little girl is being terribly neglected and at risk as a result...each time the client brings her little niece along on our outings, i want to take the kid home with me...it's a terrible helpless feeling.

Thank you for once again, putting everything in perspective for us.

MGM said...

This is the first in several years that I have NOT been working at the teen group home and doing in-home visits to teenagers learning independent living skills. Each of these young people with a lifetime of trauma to endure and no family that loves them. Each year at this time I was always overwhelmed with it all. This year I'm a bit removed from it for the first time in several years. I appreciate your reminder in this post--to give me perspective as we face our own threat of job loss and great financial setbacks and other assorted stresses. Despite our financial stress, we have a warm house and plenty of food and an amazing family. It's much more than many have. You are in my prayers along with all those whose lives you touch each day. God bless you for your precious heart!

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I am so late getting here. Wow this was a heart-breaking and inspiring post if ever there was one. You are an incredible woman with the biggest heart I know. Thank you for reminding us what Christmas is all about. I hope you and your have the lovely Christmas you so deserve and thank you for doing what you do. There are so many of us that would not be able to deal. You are an inspiration to us all and a gift to the kids with whom you work.