Here is the holiday letter I wrote and sent with my Christmas card- content scraped from my old website. Does everyone struggle with staying truly connected in these times? It’s 2020 and I look back on these words below and wonder if they would have been written in this day of social media, instant access and video calling. Also, I am far less “catholic” (formally) than I was then, and today rather than dreading the Christmas and Holiday Season, I embrace it and am saddened when the decorations come down. This is, like many things I now cherish, due to the loving influence of my husband. My call out below was to connect. Today that need is fulfilled by framily. Connecting with intention: something I find easier now given we have nurtured our friendship, are more selective on how we use our time and more intentional in our efforts.
1994: I wanted to enclose this brief note as a way to update people that I have “been meaning to write to or call.” As is for usual form with me, life has been pretty crazy (or at least I say it is for theatrics).
First, I should apologize for not even knowing where I live. The last time I wrote, my letter listed my address as P.O. Box 4527, Oakland when in fact it should have read P.O. Box 5427, Oakland, CA 94605. My number is still 510/562-4864 so write or call.
I am going to Massachusetts for Christmas. I am pretty excited and eager to see my family. It will also be 2 weeks off from work, and that should be nice. If you are curious, I’ll be there from the 18th -30th (508-883-6808). With any luck, I might even get to Washington, DC as well.
The holidays, however, are an interesting time. Thanksgiving was really nice. I spent it with a good friend and his mother in Mantica, CA (Central Valley). I was very much surrounded by love and family. I must say the consumerism and commercialization makes me scroogeish. This is also one of the only times of the year I feel an innate connection to the lesbian/gay community.
Around the holiday I find myself getting nervous about questions from relatives like “So, when you getting married?” or “How’s the girlfriend situation?” Even worse is the empty pit I get in my stomach when friends or family ask every question but ones about relationships, as though they are afraid I’ll bring up “that” topic (which I would). Honestly, I believe there is just too much pressure to make the Holiday season perfect (which it never is). Anyway, I am glad that I’ll be able to spend Christmas with my parents & family. I miss them and I plan to enjoy this quality time.
Work is great. I love my job and coworkers. Catholic Charities is under some real heavy financial strains and that makes for a tense atmosphere. There are talks of cutbacks and layoffs. Luckily my program is generating money & publicity so I do not have to worry about the funding ax. I do really consider myself lucky to be where I am and doing the things I’m doing. Recently I saw a homeless man and his kids at a subway station, begging for money. Everyone was swishing by, trying not to make eye contact, avoiding his need. I took a moment to read his sign and realized he wanted clothing, food, and possibly some financial help. Basic stuff. When I stopped and talked to him he seemed relieved that someone would actually treat him like a human. To make a short story long I helped get him to Catholic Charities, and our Emergency Services department was able to help him out. He had never heard of us before. It was a small thing for me to do, but it all started by looking in his eyes and knowing that someday I could be in the same situation. Up until that point I was in a shitty holiday mood, right now I understand that the Holiday’s are what you make of them.
So I guess I have a suggestion: Make the best of the holidays, remember what this time is really about, and take a moment to look into the eyes of a homeless person. Recently I heard my boss at liturgy, Fr. Jim, pray in thanksgiving for being born in this time, given the challenges he faces, and the strength and faith to work to make things better. It all comes together to be very warm and fuzzy but sums up the attitude that I’m trying to have right now. As for the future, who knows. Stay tuned, I guess!
I hope that the holiday season is what you wish it to be. For me, that has usually been “done and gone as quickly as possible.” Ever since I started dealing with AIDS I’ve looked to treat every day as special as it is. So, I hope you can do the same. Enjoy every day and the gifts of this season. As a Catholic, Advent has always fostered images of light, hope and fulfilled promises, so I’ll make a promise to write more often.
You can feel free to write (hint, hint) if you would like to (or call), but always know you are in my prayers and thoughts.
Peace and love,