Secret Santa(s)

Editor’s note: You didn’t actually think I could stay away for long, could you now?

I’ve always known so many people who break their arms to pat themselves on the back. Shit, they’d break off YOUR arm to pat themselves, too.

I understand it’s a tenet of the Christian faith — not to mention, it’s a family value of mine — to just do for others. Whether they know the kindness came from you or, hell, that it was done at all. Just knowing you helped someone is reward enough. It’s something you just do, then forget as soon as possible. There are no scorecards, no paying back favors (within reason, of course, because there’s always one asswipe in the crowd who will bleed you dry just as long as you keep serving them) — heck, no waiting to be asked.

I am surrounded by those types of people now.

And I wish I could tell them that I know about their good deeds — I don’t know how to thank people who would never admit to being so good to me even if I asked them, because they’d deny it. But I want to let them know that they made my holiday season bright.

It makes me happy to know that I was worthy of such kindness. It not only restores my faith in humanity, but also my faith in me. I am the type of person to do small, random things with nary a second thought about them. And for the first time in my life, I’ve met people just like my family.

And with my (biological) family so small now, I’m thrilled to count so many friends as so much more than that. It makes me want to pay it forward next time around, because the truly good people in this world not only don’t want/need a thank-you, but they expect that you’ll carry on their legacy and perpetuate it instead of paying it back.

But if ever they should need a hand, I hope I’m the first one to notice … and to provide.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to become coldhearted and miserable — it can be an easy trap to fall into, what with all the hardships everyday life brings. But my beloved grandfather who is no longer with us (goddamned VA — they practically admitted to neglecting him. His death was so senseless and untimely, and I wish nothing more than for his so-called caregivers there to suffer an equally cruel and painful demise) would never want for me to become anything other than he was — a saint, in my estimation. Someone who smiled through the pain and brought joy at every opportunity. Someone grateful for all things big and small, who cannot be remembered as anything but just a lovely, lovely human being whose generosity and love is unparalleled.

Not only am I glad no one has jeopardized the goodness he instilled in me, but I know that if there is any peace he can achieve where he is now (as I worry that he wasn’t ready to leave us and that he resisted the white light), it’s that my friends have treated me the way he would have, were he still here.

So thank you, my Secret Santas, most of all for making my grandfather proud and honoring his memory in the best way anyone could. 🙂

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