To pull a quote from Home Alone “this is the season of perpetual hope,” yet for a whole host of reasons I think it’s one of the hardest times of the year. Yes, the lights that sparkle are beautiful and the music that plays is cheerful and the hot cocoa that pours is warm with the bite of chilly air, but bad things do happen in December — just as they happen every day, every minute, every second.
Life is shitty. And perfect and not guaranteed and boring and needy. Sometimes life is about not being able to get off the couch or having everything you ever wanted. There are also times when life is lived by a series of right nows instead of potentials for a later date.
My friend lost something the other day that will rattle you to the core: something dearly wanted and gleefully expected — a wish, a dream, and all those things that we should really call luck meeting opportunity.
My friend had a miscarriage.
A person who always has a smile and makes others feel better about themselves. A woman who has turned into an advocate for those that struggle to feed their families on meager incomes. A friend that is a true light in this world.
Why, then, do bad things happened to good people?
I am reminded of my best friend’s father. He was a good man when so many of them do not exist. On TV, fathers are bumbling, lazy men who would rather couch then volunteer; men that would grab a donut before grabbing a wooden spoon to make dinner. It’s unfair and untrue, and in this case, pure fiction. This father was a scientist with multiple degrees who found the time to coach his children’s treams, re-store classic cars and do it all without being obnoxious. He never asked for a thank you, but he was always there. Always. And, wow, was he funny. He didn’t smoke, he had the occasional beer in his college days, and he was dead at 50; from a rare form of cancer.
He left behind a wife and three children with the youngest in high school.
Our bodies fail us as does fate. We can’t pray our way out of it — although it is a comfort for many — and we can’t explain away cancer or kidney disease or no heartbeats. More so than not, life and death are unexplainable There is simply nothing we can do to make great things happen to people who deserve it.
The tragedy of life is that we all want and believe in tomorrow, yet it’s a comedy of errors to guarantee the unknown.
This is the season of hope, but not in the shopping mall kind of way: we can’t wrap it in a bow at a deep discount or download an app. It’s the time when we gather and think of a fictional man chained to his greed providing a feast for a family that had so little. Or, letting a shoulder be enough for a friend or for remembering a man that turned into a father that never left his small town, but gave me — and so many others — an example without fanfare.
Bad things do happen to good people, but we’re the ones that provide hope.