Today one of my favorite people in the world handed me this Christmas card as she carefully stuffed $31 into my sweatshirt pocket. We hugged and I almost cried. Over the years, I've come to regard this woman as a manifestation of the Buddha.
She's a smallish African immigrant who sells Real Change. Her life has never been easy, but her wisdom and cheer have been a major inspiration, especially during my own, comparatively minor, travails. There's a saying that goes, "If you meet the Buddha, kill him." In her case, I wouldn't especially recommend this. One way or another, she'd kick your ass.
I accepted her gift, which was immediately invested. On the way home, I bought a spare bottle of 12-year single malt Glenlivit.
The card reads, "Joy in the little things," and opens to continue, "Hope you find it EVERYWHERE this Christmas."
Anyone versed in the science of semiotics knows that messages are conveyed through the signifier and are open to interpretation through the lens of cultural values by both the sender and receiver. In this instance, we are dealing with two distinct communication modalities, the cash, and the card.
The cash was simple enough. To my mind, the cash gift connotes, "I love and respect you, and am doing well enough myself to do this for my friend. Don't even think of saying no, and don't do anything I wouldn't do (wink)."
The card is another matter. Here, there is the meaning that the author intended, the meaning grasped by the sender, and that of the receiver. While the meaning of the author, in this case, is irrelevant, based upon our brief conversation, I believe that sender and receiver are pretty much on the same page. She knows this hasn't been my best year.
"There is joy everywhere," she laughed in her lovely accent. And then she commanded, "Remember that!" I humbly accepted her advice.
To my eye, Santa is affixed to the rear view mirror by a noose, his legs desperately searching for the chair recently kicked out from under. Or, best case scenario, the green ribbon is attached to his underwear, and he is wriggling to reach a more acceptable position before his scrotum goes numb. Through it all, being Santa, he is intent upon finding the upside to his situation.
So, in the spirit of my wise friend, here is my holiday wish to you. Though your scrotum may be turning blue, look to the good in all that you do. Happy holidays and best wishes in the New Year.