Each year at this time, we are inundated with incessant “holiday” greetings. These are sent by mail, email, voice mail and perhaps even by carrier pigeon. They are sent by individuals and companies from whom we never hear during the year–and sometimes are not even available when you need them. Most of these “personal holiday greetings” that are sent via email are sent via mail robots like “constant contact,” “mail chimp” etc. Some are animated GIF; others presume the recipient is “Christian” and do not even bother to verify if the customer is Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or Atheist. This “one Christian size fits all humanity” is especially insensitive and, from my perspective, just plain arrogant. It furthers, rather than shortens, the relationships between Christians and others.
Of course, if one is not persuaded by the mythologies of the Christian ethic, these greetings are both grating and gratuitous. While I grew up in the Christian tradition (southern baptist) I have evolved. From my research, there are about 63,000 “religions” serving the 6.7 billion people on the earth. There have been about 102 billion people that have ever walked on this earth. Each of these homo sapiens have found solace in some form of mythology that enables them to navigate their souls and their relationship with their fellow creatures. I find it incredibly presumptuous, pompous and judgmental for these greeters to presume that we all “believe” in their message. I do not judge their rights or beliefs. I simply ask for some understanding for all those who do not buy into the commercialization and proselytizing.
What I find especially offensive is the co-opting of religion by commerce. We probably all know Haddon Sundblom created magazine ads, in 1931, for Coca‑Cola inspired by Clement Clark Moore’s 1822 poem ‘The night before Christmas’, featuring St Nicholas as a kind, jovial man in a red suit. I won’t venture down the historical path of how Santa became the icon it is today. Suffice it to say that it is incessant.
So, what is the point of this post. It is simply that at this time I move inward and focus on my gratitude. This year I am grateful for:
- A loving family that is expanding in their intellect, contributions to the world, caring for others, and passion about the earth. I am especially grateful for Hannah Scherer and her spouse Brad Romans, Lauren and Brad Soucy and my granddaughter Olive, Nora Scherer, Lea Scherer, my brothers Billy and David and their families, my surfing Aunt Virginia and her children, my cousins, and Lea’s wonderfully accepting family.
- My small set of close and dear friends (you know who you are.)
- A new home in Mexico (that is not immune to the commercialization–especially of the Coca-Cola variety).
- An evolving business (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd., see www.msrdesign.com) that is being admirably lead by a new generation of five people.
- My health. While I am definitely slowing down, I have energy
- My mind (so far) is working fine.
- The learning experiences from my trips to Singapore, Cambodia and Sweden.
- The ability to continually disengage from the commercial world and focus: on work, art and Mexico.
- And finally, the loving and giving nature of librarians everywhere in the world. They are my heroes.
2014 will, hopefully, bring an even deeper dive into my inwardness that enables focused and compassionate outwardness.