Hello everybody. Hope you're doing well and that things are going reasonably okay for you and yours. Thought I'd say a few words about Christmas this time around. As you may recall, I used to be a Methodist Preacher, and Christmas was always a big big event in the church. For preachers, it was a real pain, because believe it or not, Christmas brings the worst out in a lot of folks.
Why is that? Because expectations run so high at this time of year. Everybody's supposed to be happy and giving and feeling really great. But people don't feel really great all the time, even at Christmas. And so the old truth that expectations are just deferred resentments really rings true. It's Christmas and I am supposed to be happy and joyous and I don't feel that way, so I resent the fact that Christmas doesn't live up to it's billing.
And it never will if you think that Christmas is supposed to do something for you. That's not the deal. The message of Christmas is that we need to reverse the flow for a little while, and instead of being concerned with what we need and want and deserve and expect, it's time to give something back. Dad used to tell me that life is a gift and what you do with it is what you give back. Well, that has stuck with me for a long time.
The older I get, the more I see that the really happy, successful people in this world are the people who feel they have something to give and they're giving it. They're the people who have discovered that takers never get enough. They never get enough money, enough praise, enough recognition, enough ego satisfaction. They flow backwards.
When they do appear to give, they always seem to do it with an expectation of getting something back; there's always strings attached. "If I do this for you, then, I expect you to do this for me." It's all the giving of "deal-making", which takes us back to the problem of Expectations. I do something nice; something that looks magnanimous, and then, I tack an expectation on the end of it. And if you don't respond in kind, then, instead of having my gratitude, you have my resentment.
So, what does all this psycho-nativity talk have to do with truckers? Well, a lot. Many of my drivers get really down at Christmas because they're not home, they're sitting instead of rolling, they got jacked around by their dispatcher, etc. etc. etc. And you know what? I really feel for what they put up with out there on that road.
Are you even faintly aware of how tough it is to be a driver today? The unrelenting traffic, the unpredictable weather, the other unscheduled delays? They're in a truck, and their family's at home. They're often not together, and if they are, the schedule is off sync and everybody's out of sorts. What's the message?
Christmas is up to you - Christmas and its accompanying moods is a do-it-yourself project. You have to tack it together the best you can. To all you good drivers out there, I consider you a gift. You're doing what 95% of our population is simply not equipped to do. You're out there, running that road; thinking about the last thing someone said to you, living on fast food and truck stop gossip, being married long distance, raising kids 500 miles from the house, felling sorry for yourself, being homesick, wishing you were where you aren't; and a bunch more on top of that.
But are you going to let that control your thinking? You gonna empower all that self pity to control your life? Or, are you going to reverse the flow and remember my old one liner: "If you've got a pulse, everything on top of that's gravy!!"
It's time for you to reverse the flow and realize you can change everything in your life, your mood, this season, by deciding right now that you're going spend this season as a giver. You're going to give away your smiles, your kind words, and your supportive attitude. You're going to encourage the people you love. You're going to say "yes" first and "maybe" later. You're going to be the first to stick your hand out there and shake the hand of someone in need.
We call that getting into the spirit of Christmas. And yes, it works; even for you tough old truckers. You can take a week out of your life and decide that you're going to be a part of the solution instead of a part of the problem. You'll never be remembered for your miles or your money or your tenure. You'll be remembered in the strangest places....like in the memory of a child who remembers his dad coming home in that big ‘ole truck, with a loving smile, a warm hug and grateful heart. It's the little stuff that changes the world, the little positive stuff that touches the heart. Yes, even as little as a manger.