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Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I don’t think I ever really believed in you. Sorry. If I did, I’ve long since forgotten.

But, if I did believe in you way back in the day, who could have blamed me?

After all, what do little girls believe in? Fairy tales, knights in shining armor, glass slippers, cuddly kittens, Daddies who love them, and good grief, on occasion, even unicorns.

Santa wouldn’t really have been much of a stretch.

I had so much faith when I was younger, Santa. Faith in things I couldn’t see. Faith in family; faith in my future; faith in the fundamental decency of people. Faith in love.

I was one of those girls who read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and came away feeling awe-struck by her optimism, rather than depressed by her horrible ending. And I took to heart – really adopted as my own mantra – her memorable line written before being captured and led off to the ovens: “I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

For so long, so many years, whenever I found evidence to the contrary, I’d just metaphorically click my heels and look for the good. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of years overlooking the fact that some people and some situations were just essentially bad – at least for me.

Is it any wonder, Santa, that somewhere along the way I lost – or maybe willingly gave up – my faith in people?

After all, I could recount a litany of wounds or betrayals – can’t we all? – that slowly changed me from a hopeful girl who believed in the fundamental goodness of people to a cynical woman who believes people are good when it serves their interests to be good, and not a minute longer.

I hate admitting that, Santa. I hate revealing my noxious disbelieving.

Because the one thing I know for sure, Santa, is that my state of cynicism, which can range on any given day from mild to wild, is my own doing … no one else’s.

I’m smart enough to know that nothing another person can say or do can really change who you are inside and what you believe at your core. When I choose cynicism – it’s just that — a choice. I’m fundamentally a hopeful woman, but these past few years, I’ve been wearing a heavy coat of disbelief – lack of faith – cynicism – call it what you will. It’s been pretty useful at keeping me cloaked in a false sense of security.

Another thing I know for sure is that there’s no such thing as security. You’re either living or you’re not — and no heavy coat will keep you warm on the outside when your heart is cold on the inside.

Einstein said that there are only two ways to live: “You can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

I believe his words today – as much as I believed Anne Frank’s when I was young. They’re both saying the same thing, really. And yet …

Santa, dear old St. Nick, I’ve lost a bit of my nerve. Not for living, but for loving. And, maybe not so much for loving as for believing … in people, in goodness, in love.

‘Cause it takes a certain amount of guts, doesn’t it? It takes cajones, right? — a certain amount of big ‘ole swingin’ brass ones to believe in other people … when experience has taught you that the only person you can believe in is yourself.

And even that can be a dicey gamble sometimes. After all, who among us has never let our own selves down?

Santa, Santa, Santa. I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably patting Rudolph on his big red-nosed head right now, smiling wisely and thinking I’m one of the greedy ones. One of those greedy, grasping kids who clamber up on to your lap and roll out a list as long as your arm, saying, “I want! I want! I want!”

I get that I’m asking for a lot. After all, I’m safe. I’ve got work, a car, a home. A couple of people in the world who love me. I’ve got cats, and hawks in the sky, and moons that shine every thirty days or so.

And, I’ve had a lot in my life already – gorgeous romance, rock-your-world sex, inspiring hikes, the sounds of loons calling, the magic of words and books, Beethoven, the look of the Eiffel Tower in a heavy rain. I’ve been given a lot. I know that.

Do I really have the right to ask for more?

I guess you’ll let me know tomorrow morning, right? If I lay out all kinds of milk and cookies, and maybe some carrots for the reindeer and a shot of brandy to keep you warm in your travels … will you at least consider leaving my stocking full to the brim by morning? With just one thing?

All I want for Christmas this year, Santa, is to believe again. To believe in others. To believe in myself. To believe in what I can’t see and what I’ll never know for sure.

Maybe, Santa, to even believe in you.

Posted on December 24th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
8 Responses to Dear Santa
  1. I believe with all my heart that you WILL get your wish!

    Great blog, sister…

    Blessings and Merry Xmas,


  2. what a sweet note … thanks Theresa!

  3. The simple fact that you got those great messages early on is what keeps that little tiny flame of hope still burning! I don’t know much about the belief part, but you must believe in nsomething (yourself?) to be able to write the way you do!

  4. oh, my goodness. such another lovely note! thanks for reading, maureen, and th anks for your note — you’re right, actually, i do believe in something, just sometimes struggle to remember that!

  5. Wow, you really made me cry with this one. Faith is an endless struggle and faith in others twice as long but to undertake it is to be truly alive. This Christmas I’m thankful that I have the faith of a great friend and her words to constantly remind of it.

  6. Hey Mary Catherine,

    There’s a Talmuic saying that goes something like this: You are not required to repair the entire world, but neither are you exempt from trying to change it in some small way. It strikes me that your columns fit this saying rather nicely. Clearly your writing has touched many people in a positive way. You wouldn’t have been able to do that unless in some way (sideways perhaps?) you believed in yourself and in the people around you.

    Besides, you live in a place where you can go to the beach and admire the palm trees on Christmas Eve. Not bad, huh? (Back to the cold tomorrow for this camper.)

    Have a Merry – and fulfilling – Christmas. 😀

  7. (I’m thinking that next year you might wanna leave out some Maker’s Mark for Santa…)

    May yer stocking be filled with glass slippers, a loon song or two, a thinner coat/cloak, mo hawks in da sky, stolen kisses, flutes and drums and heart songs, and fierce trust that, in battle, you are high on a horse (even if no one else can see it). It’s a worthy battle.


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