He said Christmas is the one time of year that everyone puts others first and that it was the fact that this couldn’t happen at any other time of year that made the season so special. I tried to debate him on the “couldn’t” portion of the statement but gave up on changing his mind before picking on his reference to “everyone”. Having recently decided that the purpose of life is to add meaning to the world, I was gravely disappointed that someone who cherishes the giving spirit which the holiday season bolsters would be convinced it must be confined to one time of year. I believe that giving for the sake of giving puts you outside yourself and creates meaningful moments which explain and sometimes expand your purpose in life.
When the Thomas Fire rolled into Santa Barbara a few weeks prior, everyone wanted to thank the firefighters for their hard work. Signs proclaiming things like, “Keep Kicking Ash!” appeared all over town, restaurants offered discounts and free meals, and most posts about the fire on social media included a thank you to the men and women fighting the blaze. It wouldn’t have mattered if the fire hadn’t happened near Christmas. It alone was enough reason for a “season” of gratitude. So, while I might agree that most people wait for a reason and season to show gratitude, I refuse to believe it must be that way. Should we be (are we) really any less grateful for a firefighter when there isn’t a fire burning nearby?
When I worked as a barista, I didn’t enjoy the duties my job consisted of very much, but I did like the customers… because they were (for the most part) extremely grateful for people who remember their name, serve their favorite drink(s) promptly, and sometimes ask a few questions about their day, offer a compliment, or tell a story – things it was fairly easy for me to do. Somewhat like the firefighters, all I had to do was show up, be nice, do my job well, and reap the gratitude. I’m not perfect and didn’t always accomplish my goal, but I tried to show the fact I was grateful to have a job serving those people every day. They noticed. At this point, I’ve been served a dose of thanks in the form of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (my favorite), pot stickers, pizza, job referrals, a lot of cash tips, and probably many other ways I’m forgetting to list. The funny thing is that the mere fact they were so grateful for my existence made me all the more grateful to share this planet with them.
I never gave away any free food or unwarranted discounts when I worked as a barista. I simply strove to be the kindest version of myself which I could muster each day and show gratitude for the customers who were keeping me employed… especially those who had ways of making my day nicer. I created my own reason for a season of gratitude and my world became a much lovelier place because of it. I was (and am) genuinely grateful for those customers and it showed in my actions and was reciprocated. The way I see it, I may have proven that love actually does make the world go ‘round… or it can if you want it to. The choice is yours. Do you want to be the type of person who confines their giving spirit to one season or do you want to try to spread kindness and love every moment of every day in 2018? After all, this isn’t a hand of poker we are talking about, so it just might be possible for everyone involved to win.