The next great year of our lives

As you are reading this, it is probably at least Christmas Eve. For me, that means delivering gifts for Country Santa.

6-25 Page 4A.inddI’ve done it for years, sometimes with my brother or a niece or nephew, but last year I was by myself. My brother has now moved to Columbia, and my nephew and my nieces had other commitments. So rather than deliver alone, I just didn’t deliver.

“They have plenty of deliverers,” I reasoned to myself. “They’ll be just fine.”

Of course they were just fine. I, on the other hand, wasn’t. I first got involved with Country Santa for a story I was writing for another paper. It took me a while to realize it, but delivering gifts was not just to help strangers. It was to help myself. I enjoyed giving back some of my fortune to charity, especially when I could see how much it helped people.

I’ve written many stories about Country Santa and will probably write another this year. But make no mistake about it: I deliver, because it’s what I enjoy doing.

After I was laid off by that other paper, I dropped out of many activities, saying I no longer needed to do such things to get a story. But the truth was I did not need a story. I needed to be involved. It was purely selfish on my part.

So this year on Christmas Eve, I will be lined up at Buddy Cox’s house in Pumpkintown to deliver presents. Buddy has always said that giving can change both the giver and the recipient. I know what he means now.

So next year I’m going to try to be less selfish, because I know what I do for others really is for myself.

The first holiday is Valentines Day, which has little meaning for me personally. But it’s a chance for me to try to put together something to help our friends at the Pickens County Humane Society. They are in need of funds just to carry out their mission, much less grow. I haven’t thought of how to raise money for them yet, but I’m open to ideas.

The next holiday I can think of is St. Patrick’s Day, which isn’t big here, because few of us are Irish or Catholic. Perhaps I can contribute my time to a good cause then, though.

We have to consider Easter coming up. That’s easy for me — I get to cover the annual joint sunrise service of Nine Forks Baptist Church and Shoals Creek Baptist Church. I enjoy this even without the breakfast that always follows.

I need to be writing my first book, but first I want to spend a year doing things worth writing about. Join me on this challenge. Let’s make 2015 the next great year of our lives!