Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite
distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow,
if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible
for each to see the other whole against the sky.
Rainer Maria Rilke
(historic marker for the Duelist’s Grave / The Colonial Cemetary,
Savannah, Ga / Julie Cook / 2018)
There’s a street I’ll usually cut through when I’m driving home from town.
It’s a street that my husband isn’t always keen that I take.
Not that he worries about my safety in doing so…it’s just that he thinks it
a bit seedy.
And lord knows should my car suddenly quit working…then where would I be?!
I suppose in seedyville.
And this is when my eyes roll at such a thought as I remind him I’d simply be in the same
town I’ve now called home for nearly 40 years…no worries.
It’s not necessarily a bad street in a bad part of town, but it does have its share of
what some might call a few folks who are ‘rough around the collar.’
A mixed sort of neighborhood to be sure.
But having taught school in our community for over 30 years,
I figure I know or have known all the kids from every side of town…
the upside, downside and in between side…so it really doesn’t bother me.
Many are now very much grown and I no longer recognize their faces but they know me…
so if I’m ever stranded in or around town, someone I once knew will most likely
know me now.
When I first started teaching, it was the “westside” of our town that was more or less
the more infamous part of town.
My kids (aka students) who lived in that part of town would ask if I’d ever been there…
and of course, I’d tell them yes as I had actually given ‘so and so’ a ride home.
They would in turn quickly chastize me, telling me not to go after dark.
It’s a shame that we have such sections of our towns and communities…
but the fact of the matter is that we do–as every city and town seems to have its fair
share of places one should be cautious about traveling through.
So on this particular cut through street of mine, sits an old house that looks a bit
as in it started out as a single story wooden framed home when at some point or other,
an upper story was oddly added with an open deck that makes me think “old Florida”…
as in the older type of houses built near the ocean back in the day, long before there were
multimillion dollar McMansions and highrise condos.
More bungalow than house.
The yard around the house is pretty rough looking, cluttered and littered with both weeds
The upstairs deck is covered with what must be 50 birdhouses of various sizes, shapes
Plus in bold black letters, on the front of this mishmashed house, are the words
“The other story”
Which is another throwback to those old beach bungalows when folks would name their cottages…
“The other side of the story…”
As in this fellow who lives here, and I say fellow because this place screams of a
curmudgeonie sort of person that calls this place “home”…maybe its the broken down lawnmower
and all it’s scattered parts…but no matter, it seems that this fellow has his own side to
some sort of story.
All of which has reminded me of something I recently read…
It reminded me of a different sort of ‘the other story’…or maybe it reminded
me of what is actually the real story…
I read that there are actually two Christmases…
Two different Christmases both rolled one into the other.
There is, of course, the Christmas of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, giving Tuesdays,
Santa at the mall, presents, mistletoe and all that speaks of secularism and consumerism.
And then on the flip side, there is the ‘other’ Christmas.
The Christmas of Christ’s Mass…the birth of the savior.
The latter, however, is deeply overshadowed by the former…and it seems that it is
overshadowed more and more each year with what seems to be a concerted effort to actually
drown it out forever.
But it is that other story, that other Christmas story that is actually the real
and only story.
Because it is the original story
The original Christmas.
The story being that of salvation.
The story of, a once long-ago time, when Hope was returned to earth…
in the form of a baby.
An amazing story really.
Not so much a story about mistletoe, or shopping til you drop, or of presents or
of cyber this or that but rather a story of unconditional love made manifest.
There’s always another side to every story…and I for one certainly prefer this other Christmas
story to that more modern version of this sacred story…
“It does seem strange that so many persons become excited about Christmas
and so few stop to inquire into its meaning,
but I suppose this odd phenomenon is quite in harmony with our unfortunate human
habit of magnifying trivialities and ignoring matters of greatest import.”
Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate his coming by making peace impossible
for six weeks of each year…
He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them.