You Gotta Use Not Simply Enjoy The Holidays

Looking back…! That’s one well-cherished way to use your year-end holidays. Looking back and re-watching the great drama that has been your life up to now. If that sounds like I see my life as a play, well yes, and I suspect you might too. A play in which there has been a cast-of-thousands. A few leading roles [family & friends]…a sizable number of featured players [neighbors, co-workers rivals] …plus hundreds of walk-on’s [teachers, docs, cops, waiters, mail carriers, the nameless driver who helped you out of that snow bank, etc].

When I recently shared my little theatrical worldview with a co-worker, she demurred: “Sorry, but I refuse to be an actor in your drama when I never auditioned for the part!” I think it was her way of telling me her life was complicated enough. However, with or without an audition, our many years of working together have made it impossible for her not to be in my cast.

During the coming days and nights there will be occasions to reflect and review your own play. During Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve. How in the name of everything holy and holiday can they not be? But here’s some advice. Try to be kind. Kind with your cast and kind with yourself, because throughout the many years of this play it was inevitable there would be some unexpected sub- plots…blown cues…missed lines…even a little backstage fighting over who is supposed to be directing the production.

Just remember, both we and the cast are after all only human. Humans — whether the product of a benevolent God or an indifferent Evolution — are wretchedly flawed. The thing to keep in mind during these holiday reflections is this. Most of us on this stage have been doing the best we can as seen by our own best lights. Looked at that way, maybe even the missed cues and blown lines can be forgiven.

And if that doesn’t work for you, take a second look. Take a long long look at all the children in your play. In their joy and innocence you may, like Scrooge and his Ghost of Christmas Past, see what’s still best about being human. If somehow that awakens the child in you, all the better.

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