Wonder Boi Writes

25 Songs of Christmas: Dec 10 – Count Your blessings

Every year Susie and I do a little video compellation to go in our Christmas cards. It’s a sort of year in review thing for our family and friends we don’t get to see as often as we’d like. We used to write a letter, but that got repetitive and really we’ve got a pretty photogenic kid, so why not use pictures? It’s fun and a good way to catalog all our good memories.

Only 2014 has been a pretty rough year. When January starts with a flooded basement, you sort of have to wonder what’s in store. We tried to tell ourselves maybe it was a good sign, like we got all of the bad stuff out of the way early and the rest would be easy going. Water running down the inside of the walls and through the kitchen ceiling a week later seemed to mock that idea pretty thoroughly. Then trouble with various work issues escalated into a kind of nastiness that left us longing for simple things like broken pipes again. Two sets of friends left town by summer (no one from our wedding party three years ago is still within a 400 mile radius of us). In August we had to say goodbye to a great opportunity because of other people’s tomfuckery, and it hurt. Then my good friend Cate Culpepper passed away, and that hurt worst of all. We were already feeling kind of worn out, physically, emotionally, and financially when the latest rash of violence and oppression hit close to home (we both grew up near to St. Louis). We spent Thanksgiving hopelessly trying to avoid conversations that had the power to trigger nervous breakdowns. Quite frankly, neither one of us really felt any great desire to memorialize 2014. We wanted to kick its sorry ass to the curb.

But still, we have a cute kid. He’s growing and changing. People far and wide want to see proof of these things. So I sat down and started looking at pictures of the year, hoping I could find enough positive things to mention. I just went through month by month tossing up any picture I had anything good to say about. There was a ski trip where Jackson made some awesome progress. His first sleepover with his cousins. Finishing Kindergarten. I had a new book out. Oh and summer. We did take some really cool trips over the summer. Before I knew it, I not only had a full song’s worth of pictures, I had so many I had to cut some.

When Susie and I sat down to watch the finished project, we both ended up in tears. Sure, we hadn’t put all the sad events on there, and there was more than enough good stuff to fill the time. Where had all that come from? And why couldn’t I see it through all the junk? It was like I had lost an entire year of awesome experiences to a year’s worth of bad ones. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to relive 2014, but looking at the slide show, I know that 95% of the world would kill to switch places with me.

I don’t think it’s right to ignore the hurt and pain in the world and in our lives, but it scares me that we had let those bad things completely overshadow everything else. I want to do better going forward. Make no mistake: I will not compromise my commitment to acknowledging my privilege or calling out oppression where I see it. I am not going to stop caring about the loss of friends. I am not going to manage to be happy when my shower runs into the kitchen. There will be hard days and even insurmountable challenges, but at the same time I cannot let the bad things negate the all good.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Letting the darkness of my life this year consume all the light is not helpful to me, to my family, or to our culture at large. Mostly, though, it is no way to show my gratitude to God who has given me everything, including unconditional love that accompanies Christmas.


December 10, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. 🙂

    Comment by onamarae | December 11, 2014 | Reply

  2. Dear Rachel,

    I follow your blog and your Facebook page since some time and I think (as far as any outsider can judge an issue based on the filtered Information that is available through social Networks) that you and your Family are extraordinary in so many ways. Sometimes you are too hard on yourself. You take all the ills of this world and the human race on your soul and forget the wonderful positive and loving things that go on around you. I don´t want to belittle all your concerns for all the souls on this planet, but please try to remember that for every evil there is something good to balance it out. Yes, you are right, there are soooo many things that go wrong and soooo many people who are downright nasty and bad. And mostly These stories are the stories you hear, read and see (on the internet, on telly), but believe me there are thousands of positive stories out there.

    Don´t stop trying to make the world a better place, but sometimes look at the good things that happen (to you). You have a loving partner, a wonderful and loving son, terrific friends and as far as I know, all of you are healthy!

    You know, since 14 years every morning I awake without any greater pains present and my loving partner snuggled next to me is a good day! To be healthy and loved, to have a warm bed to sleep in and food and clothes. That´s heaven on earth and with this safe haven I can tackle all the Problems that occur.

    Stay safe, have a wonderful Christmas and a better new year 2015

    Greetings from Germany


    Comment by Sabine | December 12, 2014 | Reply

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