Christmas cheer-up

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time I was in full self-pity mode. I had a job I hated (after less than a month there), Bruce was sick (he spent seven days in the hospital a week before Christmas), we were broke and a friend died on Christmas Day. I had started gaining weight from the stress, mostly from the job. (In the 11 months I worked at that place, I gained 25 pounds. Just from emotional eating.)

I hadn’t put up our big Christmas tree in a couple of years – didn’t put one up at all last year, even the little one. Bruce and I didn’t buy any Christmas gifts last year, either. Yes, this chick had one very blue, blue blue blue Christmas.

Even the truths I knew about God were truths in my head but not necessarily in my heart. He promised never to leave or forsake me, but I sure felt forsaken.

That was last year. I can’t say the pity party is completely over (we still have a lot of the same problems we had a year ago – some even worse), but God has led me through the darkest part (at least I hope so!).

I have dragged out the Christmas decorations (yes, it does seem worth it) and have even put up the big tree. I went to Hobby Lobby this evening to buy a couple of extra strands of blinking lights (with some of my birthday money), and as I left the store a cool wind blew across me. But instead of thinking, “Brrr, it’s cold!” I said to myself, “What an invigorating breeze!”

I used to loathe cold weather, but I have grown to appreciate it. Tonight, after what could have been a frustrating day (because a utility crew accidentally cut a cable, my office lost its Internet connection, rendering me nearly helpless to do most of the account processing I usually take care of each day), I was actually thankful for my job. That, in turn, helped me enjoy the chilly wind and the crystal-clear evening.

Nearly every day I tell God how grateful I am for the job (sometimes I forget – I take it for granted, just like I always will). I could enumerate all the reasons, but that’s for another post. Let me just say again, as I have said a couple of times here, that it is an AWESOME company to work for.

It’s amazing how one little change can be such a big deal. Working at the hell hole I came from, I thought I would always have a job I hated, whether it’s because I deserved to, because I’m just a whiner who’s never satisfied or (and this is what I really thought) that most people have jobs they hate. No one can really love his job. You hear people talking about loving their jobs, but you think they’re crazy (or lying), right?

But now I get it, because … I LOVE MY JOB!

And it makes all the difference in the world. Yes, we’re broker than broke, Bruce is still sick (oh, yeah, and I was diagnosed with a heart problem a few weeks ago), and we still have to sell our house. But my life is pretty good. Bruce asked me today how I was doing, and I replied, “Fantastic!” before I could think. He was surprised. He hasn’t heard me say anything that positive in a long time.

I’ve even lost 13 pounds (and counting) since leaving the other job.

What else is good? I’ve had so much extra time, I’ve started baking again. Can it get any better than that?

And tonight, with the beautiful early evening sky, the tiny sliver of moon and the celestial conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, paired with the invigorating breeze, I felt lighter than air.

What a difference a year makes.

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6 thoughts on “Christmas cheer-up

  • Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 9:32 am

    I’m so thankful to God for this wonderful gift in your life! It’s nice to see you smiling again…

  • Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 8:38 am

    sweet sweet suzy! what a wonderful God we serve– i feel the same way as you- last year i was so apprehensive about starting a new job where i would know NOBODY and leaving a 10-year work family that i absolutely ADORED (and still do)–and i can’t imagine working anywhere else!
    may God rain down love and blessing on you, my friend, because i sure do

  • Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I suspect I know better than all but a few people just how stressful your last job was, being the guy who hired you and all. But I do want to say this: You brought so much of what we needed in that position — skills, professionalism, high standards — and it always showed through in the product. I wish I could’ve done more to alleviate the stress and aggravation, and I’m a bad boss for not having managed to do so, whatever the hurdles that were in my way. I do regret bringing you into a situation that got steadily worse the whole time you were there, but I don’t regret the fact that I hired you, and that I got to know you (and re-got to know Bruce). I’m glad we’re both out of there now and that you’re happy again. Merry Christmas!

  • Friday, December 5, 2008 at 5:40 am

    I knew you had turned the corner (frolicked around the corner?) when you did the happy dance at Peregrine’s house to visualize the joy your new job had instilled in you.

    And yes, nice going Peregrine in hiring Suzy at the newspaper that will not be named — came close to sending the poor woman to the nut house, what with having to deal with me and others who would be better off on the Island of Misfit Journalists. But I am glad she suffered so (though wished for not so long a suffering) since I got to work for and with her.
    Though I share in your happiness about the baker’s dozen you lost, be careful that the next sentence speaks of the danger you are putting yourself in with the renewal of your toothsome culinary skills lest the yeast beast pounds you anew. (I will volunteer my mailing address if you wish to take away the temptation of having to eat your creations—it’s the least I can do for all you did for me)

    Besides, I reside again in the great white tundra that is western NY and by necessity need the calories to beat back the cold. But I too am enjoying the invigoration that winter brings—my first days were filled with 3-4 inches of snow that fell to earth without wind. There are few landscapes as beautiful as snow that falls and lofts softly upon trees, farm fences and such beneath a sunny blue sky that can bring a child-like smile to my face.

    All is well.

    Yes, Bruce and I definitely need your new address. You never know when I will get the urge to put a cheesecake in the mail.

    Good to talk to you tonight, you big dork. – Suzy

  • Friday, December 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Isn’t it weird how one little change can spur a whole new attitude and a new set of changes? It’s kind of funny – the way that I can tell how I like my job, is that I don’t complain about it near as much as I did when I worked at my last job! Glad you’re feeling better this year.

  • Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I’m so glad the new job has worked out for you. Merry Christmas!

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