Wedding Bells, Love, and Indescribable Joy

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d2a/64425547/files/2014/12/img_1777.jpg
There are many kinds of happiness. There’s the happiness that comes with success—the feeling of accomplishment. There’s the feeling that comes after receiving a gift. There’s a high that comes from a night out with friends. Good books, TV shows and music create another kind of happiness. As does service.

But there are three kinds of happiness that are superior to all others. The first is the peace found in religion. The second is the indescribable feeling someone has when they’ve met their spouse, their companion, their partner in life and death. And the third is the happiness you feel when watching someone you love very much experience pure joy.

Yesterday, I had the incredible pleasure of watching Melanie Wilhelm and Scott Wood celebrate their marriage. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in my life.

Melanie is hands-down the kindest, most considerate person I’ve ever met. If her soul were a color, it would be the pure white of a person who lives her life for others. She is always there with an open heart and an open mind. I can’t be unhappy around her. And I know where she gets it from; she has a wonderful family, with sisters and parents who have acted as beacons of light to me for years.

I do not know Scott that well; like most people on this side of the country, I only actually met him a week ago. But I don’t need to interrogate him to know that he is a good man with a good heart.

We all know people like this. We all have those friends that are so perfect, for lack of better term. You love them so much and you don’t ever feel like you deserve to be in their presence. And to see them so gloriously happy, married in the eyes of God and the community, is something that puts a light in your soul. The sparkle in their eyes as they look at the one they love is bright enough to break any darkness.

Cherish your friends. Be there for the bad times, because they need you. But be there for the happy times, too. It’s a feeling of ecstasy more powerful than anything you could do for yourself. Rejoice in their happiness.

Mel, I love you more than I know how to put into words. Scott, I look forward to getting to know you and I’m sure I’ll love you just as much. Congratulations and best wishes. Look to God for guidance and put Him first; lean on each other; and know that I—and a whole bunch of people that love you just as much—are always here for you.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d2a/64425547/files/2014/12/img_1776.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d2a/64425547/files/2014/12/img_1769-0.jpg

Advertisements

On Christmas and Doing It Your Way

MR. HANKEY

Ah, Christmas. What a complicated, wonderful mess you are.

Christmas is a bit of a ridiculous holiday. Let’s be honest. To some, it’s a chance to celebrate the birth of their savior (during a month that most have said is not His true birth month); it’s just another day to those of most faiths. And we let ourselves do some silly things in celebration of this holiday. We drink liquid garbage (or as some call it, eggnog). One morning a year, we sit around a dead tree and eat candy out of socks. We willingly sing to strangers, oftentimes cracking out songs with really weird lyrics (a child shivers in the cold. No, forget the blankets—let’s bring him some precious metals, though I have no idea who he is. Also, which one of the guards let a shepherd boy into the King’s palace?)

Also, there's this song...

Also, there’s this song…

But with all of that, we still love the holiday season. I’m right there with you guys. And we’ve created approximately seven spajillion ways to celebrate the month of December. And guess what: nobody has the right way to do it.

Before we even talk Christmas, we have to have word about the Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Holidays question, because even in 2014 people don’t get it yet. Basically, the rule of thumb is as follows: Don’t be a dick. That’s it. If someone has a different belief system than you, this is not the time to go crapping all over them. If you want to say Merry Christmas, say it—but don’t make a big deal about it. Would Christ write a Facebook post about how people in this country are killing humanity by refusing to say Merry Christmas? No, he would not. Same goes for you, Jewish friends. We still love you; don’t get all hot and bothered if we accidently slip.

CH

And the rule applies to the Santa vs Jesus crew, too. Don’t demand that every room of every house you visit be graced by a gold-plated nativity; likewise, don’t start throwing shepherds and wise men and angels around just because you don’t consider them sacred.

Once you’ve decided that you’re not going to be a bigoted cottonheaded ninnymuggins, it’s time to have some fun, you-style. It’s your holiday; celebrate it how you personally choose. This is supposed to be a period of joy. If you don’t want to wear and ugly Christmas sweater or go caroling or eat gingerbread men, just don’t. But if you want to wear jingle bell earrings and blast Christmas music and eat three pounds of gumdrops, that’s certainly an option.

Wanna throw an extravagant party? Do it. Spike the eggnog? Even better. Sit in the comfort of your own home and eat to your heart’s content? Sounds like fun. Volunteering at the local shelter? Bless you. Opening up a black market for Princess Unicorn? Er… hey, gotta ride that trend.

MY HORN

Not everyone that has the Christmas spirit is outwardly bubbly about it. Have some patience with these people. I can assure you that they are likely just very private about this time of year. Oftentimes it’s out of grief—this can be a very hard time of year for a lot of suffering people. But you know what? Some people are so intensely dedicated to the meaning of this holiday, secularly or religiously speaking, that they can’t show it. What they feel is beyond description, beyond display, beyond words. (You have no idea how frustrating that is for someone that writes to communicate).

Santa-and-Jesus

Unfortunately, if you want to be around other people, you might have to out some of your preferences aside. For the sake of camaraderie and peaceful family gatherings, sometimes you just gotta suck it up and eat the fruitcake, spin the dreidel, and watch that godforsaken Christmas cartoon. And sometimes you will have to break tradition; it can’t be your way all the time.

The world will not end if you don’t watch every single Christmas movie or make seventeen kinds of Christmas cookies. The world continues to spin and real-world things get in the way. Don’t worry about it.

Next year, bud.

Next year, bud.

Take some time to make this holiday season happy by your definition. We put so much effort into chasing happiness that we forget that it is a concept that’s hard to define and even harder to achieve on a large scale.

In short, don’t be an overbearing d-bag, but don’t be afraid to celebrate the holidays as you see fit, no matter if you celebrate in public or private, loudly or silently, in church or by the punchbowl or on your couch.

Merry Christmas, you guys.

IMG_1740