Peace. Paz. Shalom. Many other ways to express that feeling and hope, for relationships, for the world. It's a greeting and wish I often share, sincerely, at this time of year (and sometimes other times).
Before Thanksgiving, while not really yet able to deal with the concept of Thanksgiving without Dad [alive], I started picking up things to send to my coworker/friend also in the Navy Reserves, who was recently redeployed to Iraq. Thanksgiving ended up fine, with M and I joining in with my mother and stepfather, mom nicely recuperating great after gallbladder surgery, Doug invited but didn't come (perhaps next year, at least he was invited), good traditional meal M helped make. (Mom didn't say a negative word!) Just weird to not even talk with Dad, never mind also visiting him, just separately. Anyway, I window shopped for Christmas instead of dealing with Thanksgiving, forcing myself a holiday in advance to get together this package.
M and I looked at a few stores, Michael's and CVS primarily, and this day, I was in World Market with the stockers putting up all the new sparkling, beautiful, whimsical delights. I have yet to find a small enough, non-tacky Christmas tree, but there I did find a Christmas tree lollipop. And a lovely 3-D silver star ornament (which also came in gold), and a tiny teddy bear-like moose, with moveable limbs and a santa hat to fit in the small stocking I had. Peanuts-brand hot chocolate mixes, and lots of candy. I also picked up an Advent calendar for us, well, for M, really, and English crackers as my Dad loved them, and I just can't see having Christmas morning without him and M and I, popping our crackers, and opening our stockings. At least we'll be home and not in a tent with our own very lives at risk. I overheard M joking with our beagle, Daisy, this morning, who was likely inspecting the box, "Did you want to be put in the box, too, go over to Iraq as a special friend? I don't think so, there would be loud noises and only people food, well, not that you'd mind that, and he may not have any time to play with you."
Christmas cards. Oh, how I love Christmas cards. Not that I tend to ever get them sent out, a major ordeal I'd love to accomplish but don't guilt myself about any longer. But, I LOVE the cards:) Dad and I painted some one year, not sure any of those got sent:) (Mom and I would make decorated Christmas cookies.) M and I are both visual, the artwork has to, well, "work" for us, along with the message. We found a gorgeous Chanukkah card last night, a traditional artwork done with a dove and purple and browns. Here, they had cut-out cards of white on red, funny ones with pets, religious ones, beautiful angels or snow scenes, romantic ones (ah, nix that,while I wouldn't mind checking out the possibility of more than friends with him :) , we are NOT more than friends now), or Santa in the wrong skin color. I never realized how hard it'd be to find one with a message that'd work to send to a friend off at war in Iraq. Cards that imply one is home enjoying the day, are, well, weird.
Peace. That first card I saw this year wishing, primarily, peace, stopped me. I still wish for peace, for the world, for him and others to come home safely. Yet, well, would that imply that I don't believe in their mission, or would it otherwise come across politically? What would he think? Peace. I can't stand war or conflict at ALL. I abhor it. I am much more a peace-keeper than a peace-maker, (while I do believe in peace-making, I just have more of a keep the peace personality to always be able to function adequately to move it forward to peace-making, tho I try). I am learning that many serving in war zones right now believe themselves to be peace-makers. I appreciate that perspective. (This blog here has brought me new insight -- not a lot of politics just saying how it is for him -- great guy away from his kids -- This War and Me .) (And others who dislike or even hate being part of "this" war, but do their job as required, their duty.) It doesn't matter ones politics, however, not really -- the soldiers, pilots, medical staff, whomever -- are people. They are our friends, parents, cousins, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, coworkers, lovers, whomever, way far away, with a Christmas or Chanukkah in a completely other region of the world. The least we can do is send a greeting, a reminder that we care about them. My uncle died in "the forgotten war." Pray that they all make it home.
I finally found a Christmas card I liked for sending my friend, in a red and green "painted" holly design I liked, with a sincereand simple greeting. We also found a lovely tree-like card for him last night, I'll have Boss and some otherssign and I'll mail out. "The" party store last night had some New Year's Eve items out, also. What the heck, fast-forward through holidays, by the time this package gets to him, it'll be close enough to New Year's! I got a party hat thingy, and some small noisemakers to add. Happy new year:)
It's not too late to thank those who have been wounded, simply say you care, and are thinking of those who are serving our country -- Kathi has compiled many sources in a recent blog entry -- suitable for individuals or scout troops or whomever -- a lot of information here: Operation Santa-Now THREE Ways to Send Christmas Cards to Wounded Warriors
Some day, perhaps there will be peace on all the earth, and all those brave (or scared) souls out aiming to be peacemakers, can be home:)