Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Christmas Message

The trees are decorated, the presents wrapped and the cards have been sent out. We’ve been inundated with the commercialism of Christmas so much that we believe we must have that GPS or the toy no one can get their hands on. It’s impossible to watch a half-hour sitcom without seeing at least five Christmas-themed commercials.
This is what Christmas has become – a fast-themed, must-have, hyped-up holiday. And frankly, I’m sick of it.
This year I’ve felt bad for myself. Poor me, I’ve thought, my husband is once again not going to be home for Christmas. Double poor me, my brother is also deployed, and I have to worry about his safety also. Why, once again, do I have to be the one to buy all the presents, wrap them, do the Christmas cards, etc.? I started sinking into a depression until I started thinking like an adult instead of a petulant child.
What about those families who have lost their loved ones this past year? What about the wife who lost her husband in Iraq or Afghanistan, who will never again share any holiday with him, or has to explain to her child why Daddy won’t be home for Christmas? Or the mom who wakes up Christmas morning, remembering Christmases past, knowing her son or daughter won’t be there for dinner, because they gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country?
Every day when I log onto my e-mail, I am reminded that there are those people, who in spite of having real reason to complain, don’t. Scot Noss, an Army Ranger, was in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in February. He has been in a coma since. Every day his wife RyAnne writes about her day and how Scot is progressing in his therapy. She is a pillar of strength, and not once have I read anything to indicate her feeling sorry for herself. It is quite the contrary. She believes in God, and in Scot, and the miracles that God delivers. She is with Scot every day, taking huge pride in the small steps Scot is making.
She could bemoan the fact that Scot will be in a hospital for Christmas – but she doesn’t. She could turn her back on God because Scot won’t wake up next to her Christmas morning and say, “Merry Christmas, I love you.” But RyAnne chooses to see the good in everything, and everyone. Her faith keeps herself and everyone around her, and everyone who reads the updates on the Web site, full of hope and pride in the progress Scot makes.
I never got the chance to know RyAnne when they were stationed here. My husband knows Scot very well – they worked together for awhile, and my husband thought the world of Scot. He would come home and tell me stories about how funny Scot was. “He’s a quiet guy, but when he talks, you listen, because you know it’s going to be hilarious,” he would tell me.
Even though I don’t know RyAnne, her thoughts and feelings come across through the Web site. I’m thrilled when Scot has a good day, and keeps his eyes open. I got teary-eyed reading about how he can give a thumbs up or down to basic questions. I get frustrated when certain therapies don’t work like they should. Basically, it’s very emotional, reading the Web site, and I never thought I would ever say that, but it’s true.
This Christmas, yes, I will be sad my husband isn’t here. I will be sad for my 8-year-old son who will probably remember this Christmas as opposed to three years ago when Dad wasn’t here. But I will not be feeling sorry for myself. I will be happy that I am blessed with everything God has given me, from my husband and son to my three best friends, from a little girl named Miriam to a boy named Gage who remind me every day not to take life for granted, and a girl named Jordan who gives me the world’s best hugs, always just when I need them.
But most of all, I will be thinking of RyAnne, who probably never thought she’d spend a Christmas in a hospital with her husband. There are so many other wives and families doing the same. Let’s stop and think of them this holiday season, because really, once our presents are all unwrapped and our holiday dinners consumed, they will still be fighting to get better every day.

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