The Christmas program was last Sunday morning. The church was packed, more than usual. Everyone's children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews had rehearsed for the last two months and was stepping up to entertain us. All dressed in their Christmas best, red velvet dresses and Mary Janes, white dress shirts with tight collars and a crooked clip-on ties, everyone was polished and shining.
I like these events. It always brings out the moist old guy in me. I love to watch kids in my family try their best, or not try at all and just horse around and wave or make faces while everyone else is so serious like it was Carnegie Hall. Those kids that wave and make funny faces are the kids I root for. Almost everyone got a chance to do a little speech, or sing a small solo, or play something on the piano. Some of it was very good, and some of it wasn't.
As I watched all of the children in front of us on stage, I could see some of them were in utter fear about the whole thing, and others were just basking in the attention of everyone looking at them. Some were singing along as serious as could be, and the others were just jumping up and down and clapping along.
I know it seems like a stretch, but as I watched them all, I could almost see the ones that you could tell were not going to fit in at school, at work, and in life in general. Not just the "strange kids",(they could grow up to be Bill Gates), but the good looking kids too. There is a way about people, a certain way they carry themselves that tells the world that they don't feel like they belong.
I remembered when I was a little kid, how I hated these events. I was kind of shy, and sort of dorky looking. I sang off key sometimes and don't remember getting a solo, at least not until a play in High school.
Alienation is not just something that people who work in call centers feel, it's everywhere. In every part of society, in every country, in every city, in every village, there are people who feel like they just don't belong.
Age is no difference, in fact, not having any real perspective makes alienation even worse. When you are young, you don't have the ability to look back and tell yourself that bad times don't last forever. Every broken heart, every taunting, is like catching a virus for the first time, you have so little to compare it with, it feels like the end of the world.
This Christmas season, if you get a chance to go to a children's concert or program where a child you are related to or know personally is participating, go to that event. Afterwards, find that child and tell them they did a good job, or that they looked great up there. It may seem like a small thing, but its not. Its the sort of selfless act that makes Christmas a great time of year. Those are the adults that meant the most to me growing up, made me have hope that all of life would not be just an uncomfortable place in uncomfortable clothes.
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine