I swore I wouldn’t write a post about this holiday season because I am not a fan. In years past Christmas has always been a work holiday. Last year was the first year my mom had made Christmas dinner since I was fourteen, and that’s because every Christmas my family would gather at the Church and hand out presents and food to those who needed them.
It was fun, but it was also a lot of work, and it left a bitter taste in my tongue because like the people we served, I didn’t get to celebrate with my family. I did get to meet a lot of new people, and I made a million memories that are forever burned into my mind, but it’s not the same as having your mom cook Christmas dinner.
This year my mom will be cooking Christmas dinner again, and I find that I am really excited about it. I am excited about sipping on pretty wines, and laughing about old times. I am excited because I know my aunt will bring out the family photos, but I am also sad because this year we won’t be serving Christmas dinner at the church.
After nearly twenty years of serving dinner, politicians and powerful people decided they didn’t want to do things the way we did them anymore, and I find that I am thinking a lot about all the men and women I knew who were houseless. I am wondering how they’ve been these last few years, and whether or not they have been able to find enough support to sustain themselves.
I am wondering if they are safe, and happy, and healthy. I am thinking about my friend J, who was houseless the last that I heard, and still fighting a deeply sorrowful addiction to drugs.
I am wondering if she is going to have a good Christmas, and I wish that I was in a position to help her. I am thinking about how utterly fucking difficult this year has been emotionally. I don’t think, even with everything that I’ve been through, I have had a more emotionally exhausting year than 2020.
I am thinking about my Krisya Ohana, and all the people who came together to help me when I was in a desperate place of need, and I am hoping that they are going to have a wonderful Christmas with their families. I am glad that they were there when I needed them, but I am also finding that I don’t miss their presence in my life, because every day feels like the memory of them hasn’t left me at all.
I am thinking about my mom, who made hundreds of children smile over the years, simply by being gracious enough to pick up the phone and say “Can you help make a child smile for Christmas?”
I have a lot more fond memories about Christmas than I thought I did, but the one thing that I am ever cognizant of, is the fact that this year, millions of families around the world are going to be having Christmas alone. Because their families are too far away, because we’re in the middle of a pandemic, because their loved ones have died.
I am thinking about the fact that I have been in a bubble this year, that mostly includes myself and my mom. It’s been incredibly lonely, but I am still alive. That is more than a lot of people can say, and regardless of whose fault it is, it doesn’t change the fact that this year a lot of people around the world died, when they didn’t have to.
I am going into twenty-twenty without thinking about what “might” have happened if we had done things differently. I am going into twenty-twenty realizing that I am in this world, with my first world privilege, and that no matter how bad life is for me, it’s absolutely worse for someone else.
This isn’t just about measuring my blessings, it’s about genuinely taking the time to recognize that I have privileges that other people do not, and appreciating the fact that I am blessed in ways that I feel would be bragging.
I don’t feel bad that I have privileges that other people do not, but I am keenly aware of that fact. Recognizing these privileges I hope will help me be a better person, but more than that, I also hope that knowing how lucky I am, will teach me to be gracious when things don’t go my way. Which they don’t often.
The point of this post is to say that I am aware that this year has been incredibly difficult for some, and there are no words to express the grief that some of you are experiencing, and I am sorry. I wish that I could share some of my blessings with you. I wish that I could take away the pain some of you are going through. I wish I could wave my majick wand and make everything better again.
But all I can do is say that I see you, and I hear you.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall