Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Alfie

“You see, life is a very special kind of thing.” ~ John Denver

I remember the day John Denver died. I was a senior in college, working on a period theatre production as a costume designer. My assistant designer loved John Denver as much as I did and we spent the afternoon perusing thrift shops and commiserating over the loss of this beautiful, troubled man.

John Denver’s Christmas album with the Muppets remains one of my very favorites and I’ve been listening to it constantly this season. It’s like a warm, comfy hug for me. My sister, Weez, and I have been known to sing along with it at very high volumes. There’s one song on there, titled simply “Christmas”, which always makes me tear up a bit. It gets right to the heart of how I think about my days: life is a very special kind of thing…for each and every living breathing thing.” And if we could just tailor our every action, our every word to that sentiment, think what kind of world we could have. We could make a lot of our problems vanish over night if could consistently act according to this belief.

It sounds so simple, and it is, if we could just stay out of our own way. Think how all of our relationships would be transformed, how our environment, our government, our careers, and our communities would be if respect for the value of every life was always the priority. This Christmas, that’s my only wish: to recognize at every moment that life is a very special kind of thing for everyone.

For those who have never heard the song, “Christmas”, here is the poem that John Denver reads at the beginning of it. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

“Did you ever hear the story of the Christmas tree who just didn’t want to change the show? He liked living in the woods and playing with squirrels. He liked icicles and snow. He liked wolves, and eagles, and grizzly bears, and critters, and creatures that crawled. Why bugs were some of his very best friends, spiders and ants and all.

“Now that’s not to say that he ever looked down on a vision of twinkling lights or on mirrored bubbles and peppermint canes and a thousand other delights. And he often had dreams of tiny reindeer and a jolly old man and a sleigh full of toys and presents and wonderful things. The story of Christmas Day.

“Oh Alfie believed in Christmas alright. He was full of Christmas cheer, all of each and day and all throughout the year. To him it was much more than a special time, much more than a special day. It was more than a beautiful story; it was a special kind of way.

“You see some folks have never heard a jingle bell ring and they’ve never heard of Santa Claus. They’ve never heard the story of the Son of God and that made Alfie pause. Did that mean that they’d never know of peace on Earth, or the brotherhood of man, or know how to love, or know how to give? If they can’t, no one can.

“You see life is a very special kind of thing, not just for a chosen, but for each and every living, breathing thing. Not just me and you. So in your Christmas prayers this year, Alfie asked me if I’d ask you [to] say a prayer for the wind, and the water, and the wood, and those who live there, too."

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