This year, Christmas was on Monday, which I think is the most counter-intuitive day of the week for such a festive holiday. You can't figure out what you're supposed to be doing the rest of the week or when stores, schools and post offices will be closed or open, etc. My Christmas was even more confusing than usual, because while we had planned to go to Texas to spend the day at the annual big family celebration, we had an important meeting scheduled on the Wednesday after the holiday, so we had to cancel our plans. I kept thinking, "There must be some REASON I'm going to be here for Christmas, and I need to figure out what it is." It turned out to be a fairly straightforward version of the loaves & fishes.
But first, I had a brush with real evil. A few weeks before Christmas, I found myself getting "intuitions," in the form of warnings, about a seemingly benign man we've known for many years. These were wordless; they were essentially a feeling of dread and anxiety about this person. When I shared these with Whitley, he brushed them off, saying that there was no way this man could possibly harm us. Then the man suddenly called us and said he had to speak to Whitley immediately. When Whitley picked up the phone, he told him that he'd had an "intuition" himself, that I was about to have a heart attack. He also claimed to have had a similar intuition two years ago, just before my aneurysm burst, sending me to the hospital for 6 weeks.
I didn't find this too convincing, since this man has never impressed me as someone who was particularly intuitive, and he's certainly not psychic. Also, unbeknownst to this person, I recently had an elaborate stress test, where you run on a treadmill with an IV in your arm and someone "reads" your heart over a computer. Our physician recommends that everyone take this test periodically, and I passed mine with flying colors. I don't have any sort of heart disease.
I decided I would ask a good friend who IS a psychic what she thought, and she agreed with my assessment: it was a psychic attack. I later asked another psychic I know about it and she used the exact same phrase: "psychic attack." Both of them advised me to visualize white light surrounding myself and my family, as a form of self-protection, and I have been doing this regularly ever since.
When I found that I was going to be in the Los Angeles area over Christmas, I decided to see if I could visit the I.C.U. where I was taken after my aneurysm burst, as a way of reassuring people that their loved ones can survive and recover. Whitley met just such a survivor when he was in the hospital worrying about me, and he said it helped him to talk with this person. But I found out that volunteering at the hospital is a formal affair, involving training and a certain number of hours per week, and realized I would probably end up in the gift shop, so that clearly wasn't the reason I was spending Christmas in California.
Then, out of the blue, I received two emails. The first one was from a person who's becoming a good friend. This man lost his wife a few years ago. In his email, he said that a mutual friend, who now lives in Brooklyn, had offered to buy the three of us Christmas dinner. I knew that there were no restaurants open on either Christmas Eve or Christmas day, since I had phoned around to check. Whitley had gone ahead and ordered a goose and planned to cook it for Christmas dinner, even though there would only be the two of us. I thought to myself, "This man is lonely, I will invite him over for Christmas dinner." He accepted gladly and I began to feel good about Christmas.
Then we got a second email, from a friend we haven't seen in years, who said he was going to be in LA over the Christmas holidays. This man is divorced and seems to be a bit of a "lonely guy" too, so I invited him to Christmas dinner as well. Now I was beginning to feel festive!
On Christmas morning, I looked out the glass door on my balcony and saw a couple we have become friendly with entering their apartment in the building next door. I shouted to them, "We're having Christmas dinner at 5 p.m., why don't you come over?" and they said they would.
When I told Whitley this, he got worried and reminded me that we had a rather small goose and there was simply no way that it could feed 6 people. But I was confident: I figured that by fixing lots of vegetables, I could stretch it just fine. Later, I remembered the Biblical story of the loaves and fishes, in Matthew Chapter 14 and John Chapter 6, where Jesus stretches a few fish and loaves of bread to feed 5,000 people, with LOTS of leftovers.
And what do you know: it happened that way for us too. I have enough goose left in the refrigerator right now for at least one more meal.
There was another nice touch to the day: We went for our daily walk on Christmas morning, before we started to cook. We stopped by a coffee shop, where Whitley went inside to buy the paper. He came out and said, "I overheard the greatest thing: a couple was talking and one of them said, 'What will we do for the rest of the day?' and the other one said, 'Let's go home and listen to Dreamland.'"
UPDATE: Christmas always brings on thoughts of the new year, and that always brings back memories of years past. Whitley has gotten a turntable and is gradually turning our extensive collection of vinyl records into CDs, so our office is flooded with music we have both enjoyed over the years. I was working at my desk shortly before Christmas, and I heard my favorite song from the musical "Cats:" "Up, up, up past the Russell Hotel, Up-up-up-up through the heaviside layer." I immediately broke down and wept, because I realized that from now on, this will be MY Christmas song, because it reminds me of Coe, my beloved cat who came to me when I was in the hospital and took me to the World of the Dead (where I decided not to stay). He gave me everything he had, and even being dead didn't stop him! In 2007, I can only aim to be half as good to other people as that cat was to me. That is truly a worthwhile New Year's resolution.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.