As I sit here in bed with Tracy lying next to me sleeping, I think how my life has changed these past few years. I have always been lucky with friends. Early on I had Brett. In college and after I had Kim. In Korea I had Joanne and upon my return to the states I befriended Jessica. I keep in touch with all of them to varying degrees. Each of my friends is very important to me and in no way can any of them ever be totally replaced. Only Joanna is so far away, England, that anything resembling a traditional friendship is just impossible; but the rest of them are near enough that we can have good and solid friendships. Tracy though is the person that I have decided to share not only friendship with, but the rest of my life. While friendship is important and all of mine I believe strongly are for life, marriage is one of those promises that exceeds the normal fair.
So, as I sit in bed next to the woman I will marry in November I am hit by the fact that this Christmas is special in a few ways. First it is my last Christmas as a single man, at least on paper. It is the first Christmas that I will wake-up to and share every minute of the day with someone special and know that I will do it again next year with that same person. It is the first Christmas that I have had the opportunity to buy gifts for a child so dear to my heart. Most of all though, it is the first Christmas that I have gone into knowing that I wouldn't be alone come Christmas morning.
You see, I have spent many a Christmas eve and Christmas day alone. Back in Korea it was just common place for me. I didn't get to spend Christmas with those close to me, they were spending it with family. When I returned to the states I spent Christmas with my Aunt and Uncle, and while they made me feel at home and it was all very enjoyable; it wasn't "my" Christmas. I was always a little of an outsider. It was just me I brought and while no one else felt awkward, I always felt it a little. Of course when I left, it was often to go to home to an empty apartment or house. Often times I had friends to share Christmas Eve with or Christmas night, but it wasn't a permanent plan and if they had someone special that year they spent that time with them not me.
The age of the lonely Christmas is over though; but I can't help but think of those who find themselves walking the same path I was walking only just last year. I have friends in fact who don't know who they will be sharing the glad tidings of next year's Christmas. It's a lousy feeling to have, no matter what the circumstances. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, no matter what a person's personal circumstances might be, but no matter how wonderful Christmas might be, it's never fun not knowing what the next Christmas might bring.
For me that fear has subsided. I may not know the particulars of each Christmas yet to come, but I do know that I will not be alone. Life won't stop changing, but the path leading up to Christmas won't be as lonely each year as it has been. That's a wonderful Christmas present right there.
So, as I site here next to my sleeping fiance I say a prayer of thanks and I say a prayer asking for all those, friend and stranger alike, that those who sleep only to wake to a lonely Christmas be blessed with the strength to know that their patience will be rewarded and the loneliness of Christmases past, will be rewarded with joy and happiness during Christmases yet to come.