Here’s to Ebenezer!

This morning, I deleted and/or unsubscribed to several emails that were advertising Cyber Monday sales. They were either email newsletters that I’d subscribed to long ago (and left by the wayside). Or they were email newsletters that I’d never subscribed to, and somehow the owners of the newsletters had unearthed and/or salvaged my email address and figured that this was as good a time as any to hit me with some marketing.

One of the emails I hit the unsubscribe to was The Blissful Mind. Now, in order to appreciate how much angst was involved in unsubscribing to this newsletter, you have to know that a) this is the newsletter that is owned by a family member and b) I’ve been getting this email forever (probably ever since I knew this family member). I like her blog and I think her email newsletters are fantastic! However. To have her pitching Cyber Monday in my Inbox was a bit much (especially since I ‘d just finished deleting several of her “cousins”).

Now, I’m not totally a no-way, anti-commercial sort of guy. There’s lots of room in the hanger for me to entertain a little commercial hustle. In fact, I probably (in another lifetime :-O) have “pitched” on my own.

My thing (this year) is that commercialism and the Thanksgiving/Christmas season and celebration do not MIX! This is where we come to Ebenezer Scrooge.

I have long been a fan of Ebenezer and his Ghost problem, especially during the holiday season. I especially like his “bah, humbug” chant, and the whole Idea that Christmas (and Thanksgiving) have become a commercialized money-grab. This year, especially, in my own life, I am trying to downplay this commercialism and try to get back to the whole Christmas vibe–family, friends, togetherness. Granted, the whole pandemic thing that’s played out over the past couple of years, and my own anxiety about it, probably have something to do with this desire for less commercialism.

I think, perhaps, I finally understand where Ebenezer was coming from. Being jaded from all the spreadsheet columns and dollars and cents that were constantly pressing on him (especially in the Christmas season), he’d just had enough. “Bah, humbug!” was the perfect response. It’s all a bunch of commercial hype.

Somewhere though, in all of this dollarphoria there was a glimmer of hope (enter the Ghosts), and there was an opportunity for Mr. Scrooge to get back to the way things used to be. Friends, family (maybe even a little romance).

I guess a lot of this was running through my mind, when I hit the Unsubscribe link in our friends email. Cyber Monday? Really? Zap!

Don’t take it personal, my friend. It hasn’t got anything to do with the gross commercialism of the season. It hasn’t even got anything to do with “I’ve never done this myself”. It was a purely emotional reaction to something that has gone terribly wrong with Christmas (and Thanksgiving).

I think maybe I’ll just take my walk around the lake this morning, and think of how lucky I am, how lucky we (my wife, Jan, and I) are, and just pray that every one else comes to their senses soon.

God bless Us, Every One!

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All the signs were there. Why didn’t I see?

I’m a pretty smart guy. Just ask my wife. She’s pretty smart too!

Awhile ago, though, I was just thinking–I’m getting older! The whole world is getting older. This has been happening all along. Why didn’t I see it? Yes. I know I’m given to distraction. I’m not always mindful. Sometimes I just zone out–as they used to say. I’m a walking experiment in Unmindfulness.

Most of the time, this doesn’t matter. I have a series of habits I engage in every day. I don’t really care much about the minutia of what is going on around me. I’m not totally tuned in as to whether my activity is in a cul-de-sac, or whether I am pushing through a dip (as Seth Godin would say in his book). I think I am probably acutely aware of when I am about to go over a Cliff. If anything, Cliff’s maybe don’t induce the sort of panic they normally would. (I’ve just gone over way to many of them).

I’m going to use my career in nursing as an example. I became a nurse in 1994. Back then, I was following in the footsteps of my mother, and taking a lead from my brother Mike, who had gone to nursing school a year or two ahead of me, and seemed exceedingly happy with his path.

Quick flash to 25 (or so) years later. Now I’m wondering did I make a mistake. Was nursing (and all things medical) a poor career choice for me? Should I maybe have looked further, and/or taken the hint that “something ain’t quite right”? Something definitely smelled fishy, but I wasn’t aware enough, or well enough, or educated enough, or comfortable enough in my own skin to see. And that is the question: why didn’t I see.

Like Paul on the road to Damascus, it took an act of God to get me to where I am now. Am I likely to emulate Paul and lead a church? No. Probably not. But having the scales removed from my eyes, and being able to see clearly, may be enough. Now. We’ll see.

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