It’s that time of year again – the time that I write you a letter. I’ve been doing this for as long as I could read and write…do you remember?
When I was little, my mother served as your elf, writing my name in glitter on packages signed from you, and once, even leaving a trail of red construction paper footprints leading from my bedroom to the back of the couch, where the stockings were hung (we didn’t have a fireplace).
It’s because of her that I’ve managed to retain the ability to suspend belief, to find the bubble of magical delight that exists deep inside all of us, and to send it forth, sharing it with the world through words – essays and stories and songs – and yet, I never write these letters to my mother, Santa. I write them to you.
I don’t have a long list of “I wants” this year, Santa. Oh, there are tons of things I’d like to have – like the hoodie designed to look like a Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform, and this set of mugs I really like, but those aren’t things I need.
Other people, though, have real needs, so if you could transfer whatever allotment of North Polar magic I’m due to them, I’d really appreciate it. I even have some ideas:
I’m fostering two pit bull mixes right now, Santa. Madison is a two-year-old spayed female, and she’s as sweet as can be, though she prefers to not be around other female dogs, or any cats. Marco is a male puppy, who was born in a shelter and lived his whole life there, until he came to stay with me a week or so ago. I’d love for them to find forever homes with people who will love them as much as I do, but they’re safe for now.
More than that, I’d like for there to never be an unwanted puppy or kitten in the world. I’d like breeding mills and fighting rings to become things of the past. I’d like it if senior pets were either taken care of until they died naturally, or eased out of the world in the arms of the people who loved them.
I had a whole page and a half of other things to discuss, Santa, but I deleted it because I realized I was using my letter to you as a soapbox, and that wasn’t my intent.
And really, everything I wanted to talk about, even the animal issues I’ve already discussed, boils down to one thing:
Compassion for each other, compassion for ourselves, compassion for the animals in our care, and those who exist in the wild, and compassion for this planet we call home.
We’re not, as a race, being very good stewards of the Earth or of each other. We’ve become cold and callous, embracing a “me first” attitude that is more than a little unpleasant.
It will be the end of us, Santa.
Already, friends and family members cease communications because they disagree with something they see in social media.
Our government representatives don’t cooperate with each other, and are smug about their non-cooperation.
It’s really sad.
And really scary.
So, Santa, please, bring us all a box of compassion this year. You can make my parcel a bit smaller than some, maybe a tiny bit larger than others, and I promise to share it, because the whole point of compassion, is that you do extend it to others.
I know in the past I’ve asked you for other intangible gifts. Love, generosity, patience – those are all things we still need in massive amounts.
But they come within the guise of compassion.
So, thanks, Santa, for listening, and considering my request this year. I wanted you to know that I’m completely over the whole wanting-a-pony thing. I mean, I have two huge dogs who are roughly the size of ponies already, and it costs a small fortune to feed and vet them. (Not that I would trade them for anything.)
But, if there’s a little extra Christmas magic, maybe whisper in the ear of my muse? My writing has been kind of hit-or-miss this year, and I could use some extra help.
Okay, extra help and the Star Trek: The Next Generation hoodie. In command red. Because even though Data was my favorite character, ops yellow makes me look sallow.
Image Credit: The Messy Desk of Santa Claus