Friday, November 25, 2011

Home alone on Black Friday ... and loving it

So it’s Black Friday—the day merchants’ ledgers run from red into black as Americans flood sale-sloppy stores for bargain prices on Christmas trappings.

Since I am not most Americans, I stay home on Black Friday. A bustling crowd in my kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner is one thing, but hustling through a crowd of strangers—perfect or otherwise—is quite another. It’s not for me. I’d rather settle into the sofa with a leftover-turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich and a good book.

Merchandizers do a fine job of telling me what I should buy for Christmas, as well as when and where I should buy it. But as my son says, Black Friday isn’t even in December, and Christmas shouldn’t begin until December.

I like that. Why rush things? Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it, and retailers will start reminding us by December 27.

However, my son obviously has not been the Christmas-gift-purchaser over the years, so he has no idea of what it means to spot that perfect something in March or September, and then hide it away for later. Which, of course, is why I don’t have to worry about Black Friday.

I also appreciate the fact that some people plan ahead for The World's Biggest Shopping Day and make it a fun outing with relatives or close friends.

But rebelling against the commercialization of Christmas is my way of occupying the season, and the current season is still Thanksgiving. I plan to stay home and be thankful on the day after I over-stuff myself on stuffed turkey.

Thank God for leftovers.

And a safe refuge of peace on Black Friday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life is so unfair

I recently posted a fill-in-the-blank request on Facebook in the form of a question I’ve heard many times:

“What in the world did I ever do to deserve ____?”

I expected answers like:

a wrecked car
an unfaithful spouse
getting fired
this ridiculous interest rate

Surprisingly, not one answer was a complaint. No whining. No resentment or grumbling. Instead the answers were:

God’s love and favor!
The perfect children that God blessed me with.
Such a cool and thoughtful Auntie!
My beautiful family.
All the blessings this life has given me.

One respondent said he knew it was a loaded question. That’s good. It means he has already confronted himself with what matters most in the face of life’s unfairness. And it is unfair, you know.

I haven’t done one single thing to deserve the privilege of walking along the river on a clear morning, or marveling at the beauty of a silent snowfall, or coming home to a warm house and a hot cup of coffee. I’ve done nothing to deserve my family and good health, a job I enjoy, faithful friends and God's grace and forgiveness, but I’m thankful for it all.

Yes, life is unfair. And I am extremely glad that I don’t get what I deserve.