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This Time of Year

familyHave you ever realized that during the months of November through February our most treasured memories of celebration are made?  There is a great deal of joy shared, family embraced, and love expressed.  It is the time of year that we give thanks for our many blessings, give tribute to God and those we honor, and renew our hearts with the promise of love and life.  With all of these wonderful things there also comes the other side of the coin, assessment and reflection.

We can’t help but search our souls after the last turkey has been blessed and eaten, the last carol has been sung, the last Christmas tree turned off, the last present is opened, the last New Year’s Eve bell has rung, and the last Valentine opened.  After each of these lasts, when we look into ourselves we see so many things both good and bad, things that make us both happy and sad, things we wish were different, things and people we have lost, things we wish were better, and things we would never change because they are just perfect.  This past year, and yes, even the year before, have been especially difficult for me.  And I got to thinking about the painful changes and the difficulties I faced and will face and found  that I could so easily be saddened or even over-whelmed by it all.   And when I look at the state the world and the United States are in, I wonder how there can be any hope?

Yet I still hope and I know why.

Collateral DamageCollateral Damage originated as a military term referring to unattended or incidental damage from an action taken.  The phrase has since been used to describe so much more.  If you think about it, we are all victims of  Collateral Damage in life.   There is no person who remains unharmed from the decisions and actions of those around them.  In my book, Collateral Damage, a December 14th release from Samhain Publishing, I delve into this issue in the many faces it can show.  Everyone in the story is affected by the Collateral Damage from the actions of the people and the institutions around  them and from the events occurring in the world as well.  No one is damage free.

Yet the characters are thrilled to be alive, and I know why.  And not just because I wrote the story, but because I choose to do the same thing in my life that they chose to do in theirs.  (Yes, ask any writer…characters do make choices.  They take on a life of their own in the magic of putting them on the page.)  What choice am I talking about?

Whatever happens to us in life, we have the power to choose how we are going to view what happened, how we are going to react to what happened, and how we are going to place what happened into the huge jigsaw puzzle that all of life makes up.

People are not perfect.  Life is a struggle.  We cannot isolate or compartmentalize events or hurts and make them the sole focus of our minds and angst.  The human experience, all of its highs, all of its lows, all of its joys, and all of its pain needs to be embraced as a whole.

We can choose to give thanks for the many things that are good.

We can choose to bear and positively change the things that are bad.

Above all else, we can  choose to love both ourselves and others, especially at This Time of Year.

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