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"The Art of Quitting"

This was the title of an article I saw yesterday while sipping Godiva Hot Chocolate in an abandoned corner of Barnes and Noble, stealing a few glances in my favorite magazines that I can not remotely afford.  (Have you ever stolen anything?  I mean, besides glances?  I have!  That post coming up...)

I didn't read the whole article but I found the title to be very interesting since this is precisely what I have done this year, or tried to do this year.

While at first glance, it may not seem like I quit much this year.  I did.  I learned to say 'no' when I would have normally said, 'yes'.  I learned that the whole problem with saying NO is trying to come up with a reason to justify the NO.  When I discovered that people don't need to know my every reason and whim...No became really easy to do.

I've spent less time trying to save the world and more time just trying to save the moment.  Save the little moment that is so fleeting yet carries a million joys and sorrows; yes, in one little moment!  Little moments I don't want to miss, I decided.

Have I felt bad about quitting?  Maybe.  A little.

Today, I played the organ for a close to two hours at the Temple.  The chapel was packed but sitting on the front row was my dear, dear friend Bernie and his son Mike.

Bernie and Carol were the two people who kept me sane when I first moved her a couple of decades ago.  Carol is actually a second cousin to my dad- or something like that.  I spent so much time at their house.  They really welcomed me into their family.  Every Christmas, I would spend as much time as I could decorating the house with them, making candy, chocolates and just soaking in their warmth and kindness.  Christmas was what Carol lived for!  She would start the day after Halloween because the house had to be perfect by Thanksgiving.  She had probably 18 trees and that many wreaths that she had made.  It was magical!

Carol passed away a few years ago.  That first Christmas without her, Bernie kept up every single tradition of decorating and candy making!  He still called me every year to help him decorate and it was a task I loved!   He always told me that Carol would only trust me to decorate the main tree in the living room, I could do it just the way she could.  That always made me feel special.

On our way to Seattle in October, I was thinking about how I would be getting that call from Bernie to decorate that big tree.  He always called the first week in November.  When I saw him sitting in the temple, I realized, I had not gotten a call this year and I sort of felt sad.

I looked closer at him and our eyes met but there was something missing.  A spark that Bernie always had in his eyes!  I don't think he even recognized me!  I saw him a couple of months ago and we visited in the hall at the temple but something has happened.  He did not look well.  He looked pale and thin.  He seemed disoriented at times and his son would have to explain things to him.

As soon as I was done, I rushed out to my car and drove straight to their home.  Christmas was not there.  I could see the tree standing in the front window but it was unlit and un-decorated.  It was the only tree in the house. There were no wreaths, no sign of magic that everyone in this town has grown accustomed to.  Their house was on everyone's Sunday night, see the Christmas lights car ride.

I can't let this happen.  I have to save Christmas for Bernie!  I can't wait to go over and see him and find out what has happened.  It will sure be sad if he is sick.  I never thought I would see the day that Bernie would be 'old'.  But I guess he must be well over 80 by now.

Maybe I haven't quit altogether.  Somethings...I just can't quit.  Not yet!



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