Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas

I’ve been listening more closely to the myriad Christmas carols on the radio the last couple of weeks (I refused to listen to the ones already playing by Halloween).  I thought something might ignite a theme for a Christmas blog, as music so often inspires me to write.

John Lennon’s lyrics, “And so this is Christmas and what have you done?” keep poking at me.  I know recently of several people who didn’t make it to this Christmas and I wonder for how many of us this upcoming Christmas will prove to be our last?  What then?  What have we done?  Maybe more importantly, what haven’t we done yet?

Are we making the same old resolutions this New Year?  Holding the same grudges?  Complaining the same complaints?

Tangled in the same issues.  Fighting with the same people over the same stupid things…Stuck, stuck, stuck on yesterday, in neutral, under rote…What have we done?  Or, better yet, what have we changed?  What have we dared to change?

Although not Christmas-related, I’m also reminded of that saying, “In order to get something you’ve never had, you may have to do something you’ve never done.”  I love that.  I know that, for so many, me included, there remain reruns of even years of drudgery.  So many brain injury survivors struggle with what is lost and what is gone and what is ruined that every day too many tend an altar for “the life before” while the life today and the life tomorrow waits and waits, disappearing in shrinking windows.

And brain injury survivors certainly don’t own the patent on redundancy.  Even as our limbs may not move, we aren’t the only ones paralyzed.  Seems most of us quickly return to familiar, cling to unchanged, immerse ourselves in tired routine-even when we already know and don’t like the outcome.  Whether it’s because of a sense of obligation, a feeling of disregard, fear, laziness, lack of awareness…we just keep on trudging and slogging through each day and each year as if there is an endless supply of them.

There isn’t.

I discarded most of the Christmas carols for one reason or another.  I couldn’t think of a blog to write that might have something to do with Grandma getting run over by a reindeer (they never reported head trauma).  I decided upon, “For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”


Picture your child, your niece, nephew, or grandkids on Christmas morning.  Remember, even yourself, that wonderful feeling…

Anticipation.  Glee.  Excitement.  Bring on the morning; there’s gifts waiting!!!!

Too often we forget that that hasn’t changed one bit, Chia Pets notwithstanding.

Sure, most of us aren’t in footie pajamas anymore.  And, for many, there aren’t parents to shake and wake at 4:30 in the morning because presents need to be unwrapped NOW.

But, make no mistake about it, the presents are waiting.  And not just on Christmas morning.

Another day.  Another chance.  Another possibility.  A new and glorious morn!

To change.  To forgive.  To seek forgiveness.  To finally start or to finally stop.  To genuinely be glad for people.  To do the right thing.  To summon the courage.  To leave or to decide to stay.  To pick up the phone.  To pick up a pen.  To stand up.  To voice a long-quiet opinion.  To sing.  To dance.  To stop being cruel.  To stop being angry.  To stop being jealous.  To actually participate in our lives, in our families, with our friends.  To find love, seek it out, acknowledge it, respect it, express it, make it, appreciate it, celebrate it….

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!  What better gift?

Too often we waste our mornings.  The birds in quiet hollows wake singing outside the window but we’re hammering our alarm clocks for five more minutes of sleep.  The precious sun, full of promise and warmth, slowly climbs the wall once again while we’re running around screaming at the kids and frantically searching for car keys.  The new snow glistens like perfect diamonds but we’re too busy cursing the shoveling and the window scraping…

A new and glorious morn.

Let’s not rush.  There’s only so many of them left.  For any of us. Heck, we take a gazillion pictures now on our digital cameras and we barely even look at them.  We text and we email so quickly and without thought that sometimes we’re sending things to the wrong people and other times we can’t remember what we’ve sent at all.  Our kids run out the door and we can’t remember what they were wearing because we didn’t even stop to tell them good morning, I love you.  Our parents call and we rush them off the phone because we’re already ten minutes late for six different obligations…

A new and glorious morn.  The gift of choice.  Of opportunity.  Of more time.  More precious time.

I wish you all a Christmas morning of simple peace.  A hot cup of perfect coffee, perfect tea.  A moment’s reflection.  A quiet new dream.  A feeling of child’s wonderment.  An appreciation for all that you’ve accomplished.  A slight nod to what silently waits.

I wish you all tomorrow.  And the one after that.  Moment after single, blessed moment.  Like drops of water that create the oceans of our lives.  Each a piece of the puzzle.  An ingredient.  And yes, a gift.

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.




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