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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Friday, December 31, 2010

We Shall Be Free

Garth Brooks - We Shall Be Free

“This ain’t comin’ from no prophet, just an ordinary man… when I close my eyes I see the way this world shall be when we all walk hand in hand…”

It’s time to put the tree away for another year, take down the glittering lights – and cross our toes that they will work next year, despite their being brand new this year.  China has us over a Christmas barrel, and they know it - we’re never going to cash in that “warranty” that comes inside the box.  We’ll just trudge down to Kmart next December when we’ve pulled them from storage to find that half of each string has gone out, grumbling all the way.  Ho ho humbug, and all that.

One of the reasons I love the holiday season, despite my best curmudgeon façade, is the giving.  The receiving is most excellent as well!  But it’s the giving that takes away the chill in the air.  To be able to treat a friend to a special holiday meal who otherwise couldn’t afford it brings out my inner elf.  Helping to gather toys from strangers in an effort to make Christmas a teeny tiny bit better for a child gets my jingle bells jangling.  Hosting parties that leave friends smiling, surprising someone with a card or a gift, forcing my cats to humiliate themselves with their annual holiday photo to send in the cards that I will spend eight hours signing, updating, and addressing – priceless.

Today, I zipped out on the road to lunch with a friend, and got back to the reality of everyday music.  No more being serenaded by Bing and dreaming of a white Christmas.  All of my holiday friends – Karen Carpenter, Kenny Rogers, Julie Andrews, Charlotte Church, Mariah – are being put back into their file folder on my hard drive until after the next turkey has been carved. 

As I got back to my country roots, heading over the green hills toward Highway 4, the holiday buzz carried me along, and I sang out loud to my favorite cowgirl anthems.  It was a concert to behold, let me tell you.  I’ll be appearing all week, check back for showtimes. 

In the back of my head, though, every year as the calendar turns over its last page, comes the thought: Wouldn’t it be amazing if this sort of goodwill carried over into the new year?  We all feel charitable when the food banks start rolling out the ads looking for donations as Thanksgiving approaches, and Toys For Tots hangs their colorful signs all around the community. 

What about in January, March, even in July?  People will still be living on the street, hungry and unclothed.  Children will still need to know that someone cares.  Schools and libraries are always in need of volunteers.  Seniors will still be there looking for a new friend.  There’s no way to take on all of it, but every so often it is possible for each of us to look beyond December, and contribute an afternoon to others. 

I find New Year resolutions to be quite pointless – all they do is set us up to fail, and personally I have plenty around to feed my gargantuan sense of guilt.  January is a beginning of a new calendar, not of our lives.  Every day that we awaken is another chance to look around ourselves, see past our own noses.  It’s really not even as daunting as it sounds, and has a different feel to it than simply writing a check to assuage a sense of obligation. 

It’s rather freeing, in fact.  If only Santa really did stay in our hearts after the stockings have disappeared from the mantle.  Imagine what a world it would be. 

Imagine how much brighter your corner of it could be.

“When the last child cries for a crust of bread, when there’s shelter over the poorest head – stand straight, walk proud, ‘cause we shall be free…”

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