My Dear Friend:
I would not need a calendar, nor any amount of media, to know that this is a special, important time of year. There is an incredible stillness in the air tonight. It is as though all the animals are finally at peace with each other, having reverence for this evening and its significance. Between my heartbeats, the only sounds are an occasional swoosh from a passing bird and the faintly booming, echoing crackle of river ice.
Moving along the wilderness, the thrills of Nature are not limited to one's awareness of sound. For every bright star in the clear black sky, there are dozens of brilliant sparkles dancing in the fresh frosted snow. Such a sight is as energizing as the clean, crisp air, which does not freeze exposed hands, yet is cool enough to cause sensations of "safely cozy" inside a parka.
At any time of year, such awesome, simple beauty seems to cry out to be shared. That this evening is Christmas means that I hear the cry a little more than usual, and so my thoughts turn to you a little more frequently, and a little more intensely, than usual.
How are you? I hope you, and your family, and your other friends are all feeling good. We both know how the importance of the well-being of family and friends is magnified during Christmas. It is during Christmas that the need for charity for others is most visible, and it is always easier to share happiness with those less fortunate when there is no personal sadness or worry in the heart. And if everybody was restricted to one fundamental lesson about Christmas, the lesson would be that charity is the first step towards paradise on Earth.
It certainly would be our own private form of paradise if the kilometres between us were instead centimetres so that we would be together more often. On the other hand, to have our paradise might mean that we would be unable to fully appreciate our exceptional moments together, which would mean we could not recognize our paradise as being paradise. Our mutual, deeply personal respect and admiration might not exist if those seemingly infinite moments of time when we have been apart did not exist.
Being aware of this, however, does not prevent me from experiencing melancholy emotions. More than ever, I am jealous of your other friends and of your family: jealous of the lengths of time they are with you; jealous of the frequency of times they are with you; jealous of the special moments (and even the not-so-special moments) that happen when they are with you. Though I wish to share with you every joy I think of or experience, my unreasonable selfishness is demonstrated as I also wish that the joys you think of or experience were shared exclusively with me. (Such yearnings are all the more confusing and tormenting for one who once read "Love is when someone else's needs are more important than your own.")
Though there are kilometres between us and only moments before Christmas Day, my most desirable, forceful considerations due to our friendship are not bound by extremes of distance nor shortness of time: my wish to Santa that I (or even this letter) be whisked away to be with you in your home Christmas morning; my hopes to you for your continued happiness and precious enjoyment of Life; and my prayers to God for your everlasting good health and fortune.
Truly Yours (and Missing You),
Vernon R.J. Schmid
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Last Updated: 2005-01-23.
When I was in grade eleven, a poster up at the front of the English class had "Love is when someone else's needs are more important than your own."