HOW DID I SPEND MY CHRISTMAS DAY, TODAY?
A dear friend called up a few minutes ago to give me Christmas wishes… “How did you spend the Christmas day Gerry?” he asked, “Hope you enjoyed.”
How did I spend my Christmas day, today?
Greetings and calls apart, my Christmas day was homebound. Actually, my wife, son and I spent our time with my in-laws, who live nearby to our place. When they were in good health, we would invite them to our place. Now, they cannot come. So, we meet at their place and spend the Christmas day with them.
My father-in-law is in his eighties and my mother-in-law is in her seventies. We do not allow them to go out alone. They are not able to attend the Sunday Mass any more, the way they did for years, when their health was good. Last evening, my father-in-law expressed his desire to attend the Christmas Mass. Obviously, the night mass was not advisable… So, I assured him, that I would escort him to the church for the morning Mass today, which I did…
It was a very satisfying moment for me! I suddenly became conscious of the ‘Time’, and the famous words of Shakespeare, ‘Time and tide wait for none’… I was conscious of the truth, that, today, it was he… and tomorrow, it would be me!
Each Christmas season, apart from its merriment and glee, is a constant reminder to all of us about our mortality… “Hey, seize every moment… Be grateful and rejoice!”
After coming from the church, I called my mom, who lives in my hometown, Mangalore. She too is in her eighties. Along with the Christmas wishes, you cannot help asking about your mother’s health. And, her reply? Will she sound excited, “I am fantastic!” or, even, “I am fine, thank you.”?
Parents are no longer young, and they are no more in their ‘Pink’ health… They have dozens of health problems… and, they can no more eat those Christmas sweets, the way they did when young...
My mom spent more time enquiring about the health and well-being of her son, daughter-in-law, grandson and my in-laws than cribbing about her own…
That’s one more moment to cherish, on this Christmas day!
Every Christmas, Harwadekar uncle, who lived in our colony for many years, dropped by to wish me and my family on Christmas day. If we were out, he would call and shower on us his choicest blessings. He was one of the impeccably-dressed men I had ever seen, and he was so full of positive energy and wisdom. He is 90-plus at present, and he no more lives in our colony. But, he always kept in touch and would call on every festival and important day, on Christmas day in particular, even though his health was deteriorating every passing day.
As I did not receive his phone call till 6 this evening, I called his son. Yes, uncle’s health is really bad. He was extremely happy to talk to me and read out the message he had scribbled for me for Christmas. “Gerry, have you come to know about aunty (his wife)?” he asked me.
“Her state is far worse than mine… She is diagnosed with cancer. It is in advanced stage,” uncle said, “Please pray for us, Gerry.”
This was the third moving moment for me, this Christmas!
In a strange way, all these moments seem related. They seem to make me conscious of this supreme gift called ‘Life’… I wish to see it as a different kind of ‘Secret Santa’!
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine had sent me this Good-morning message:
“The heart that loves is always healthy…
The heart that serves is always happy…
the heart that cares is always strong.
And I pray that God keeps you healthy, happy and strong.”
My father-in-law, my mother and Harwadekar uncle and his wife were great champions when it came to loving, serving and caring… God did keep them healthy, happy and strong for good number of decades… The quintessential case of: “Nothing to complain about”, “Nothing to feel sorry about.”
Did I spend my Christmas day well, today?
Oh yes, I did.