Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bah. Humbug. Thank you.

There's snow on the ground. My girls were giddy as I took them to school today. It won't last, but it's a fun sight for north Texas in early December.

The New York Times published a fun little bit of history: The original manuscript for A Christmas Carol. Like I always do, I flipped quickly to my favorite part, about Old Fezziwig:

“He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?”

“It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not his latter, self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

Dickens was writing about more than some silly feeling evoked by a season. He was writing about the simple acts of kindness that bring dignity and even joy to one's labors. You may not be a supervisor, but you probably have co-workers. You, by yourself, can make their existence a little more cheerful, and not in that schmaltzy way of greeting cards and tinsel. Every time you make a person feel welcome at their job, or proud of their work, you have helped give their life some more meaning.

I'm not kidding about this.

Try to catch somebody doing their job well, and tell them that you notice it. And after chatting with a co-worker or a friend or even a family member, thank them for their time and conversation. (I learned this last one recently from my friend John Shirley, who teaches me small but important things, once in a while.)

Consider this my late Thanksgiving post. I give thanks for those around me-- even strangers-- who help give joy and meaning to my life.

“A small matter,” said the Ghost, “to make these silly folks so full of gratitude.”

“Small!” echoed Scrooge.

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2 Comments:

At Wednesday, December 02, 2009 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Sherm said...

Personally, the opening four paragraphs to A Christmas Carol are the tops. Just for those unfamiliar:

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

 
At Thursday, December 03, 2009 10:28:00 AM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

A million points of light.

Happy Holidays to y'all, as well.

John

 

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