Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night

It’s the season of giving, also the season of receiving, marked by our usual rampant consumerism. Traffic and cashier lines lengthen as we scramble to find the perfect presents, decorations and baking supplies. The festive season is more frustrating than celebratory. Isn’t that right, Mr. Grinch?

But as little Cindy-Lou Who reminds us, Christmas is more than just packages, boxes and bags. In the spirit of the holiday I want to share ten things I’m grateful for in this maddening season.

1. Despite the upward spike in crime in St. James my family and I have so far been spared from any direct attacks of gun violence.

2. I can afford to by Christmas presents for the people in my life. Just a few years ago, I would never have been able to.

3. Barbados and a few other Caribbean countries voted against Trump’s Jerusalem agenda in the UN referendum. They give me hope.

4. Technology helps me stay in touch with friends who are travelling the world. Kind of like if the Wise Men had Skype and Amazon Prime.

5. Even though I don’t own a car, I have unrestricted access to one. And even though it isn’t perfect, it’s never left me stranded.

6. 2017 was a year of plenty forward momentum in my career. I am grateful that I continue to grow and learn so much as a primary care physician.

7. Christmas breeze ah blow! I am very grateful for my water heater that saves my toes from frostbite.

8. I recently got an oven and I look forward to brushing off my rusty baking skills. I am grateful for the promise of Christmas cookies.

9. A lot of people I know have to work this Christmas, especially at the hospital. I’m grateful that my Christmas holiday involves staying home, sipping tea and petting my cat.

10. These candles are making my house smell like warm cozy Christmas nights, and I love it.

What are you grateful for at this time of year?

Milestones and Metaphors 

For my 25th birthday the universe’s present to me was the surprising and unwelcome reminder that the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Instead of a relaxing day of doing nothing circumstances conspired to trap me in work. The horror.

But as I lay railing against the unstructured ebb and flow of life, I reminded myself that we are merely leaves floating down the stream of eternity. Day to day struggles seem all-consuming in the moment but time pushes us ever forward. Yesterday’s trials become tomorrow’s lessons.

What is important, I thought, is remembering to take a break from the rapids that overwhelm us and spend some moments enjoying the feel of sunshine. It’s no good jumping from crisis to crisis and ignoring the good bits in between. The good bits are the whole point.

So here’s to gratitude. And a quarter century of living. And paying more attention to the good parts for the next twenty-five years.