I don't watch many Christmas specials. I love the Grinch and Rudolph. Am I the only one who cries when those little God-love-'em Whos in Whoville come out and sing even after all their presents have been stolen? Or when Rudolph is at the head of the reindeer team blinking his sweet little nose off and says, "Ready, Santa!" and takes off into the night...
I was thinking about Rudolph and how far that simple, sweet message reaches. As brain injury survivors, a lot of us feel like Rudolph at one time or another. Set aside. Left out. Without a place. Like the forgotten souls on the Island of Misfit Toys.
There's no way around it. Some of our trains have square wheels now. We are spotted elephants and Charlies in the Box and fish that swim and cowboys that ride ostriches.
And a lot of us feel like Rudolph did when he and his buddy were horsing around and having fun and then his black fake nose popped off. You catch their reactions. Those first facial expressions. That shocked look in the eyes. That moment before they hide their reactions to us speaking or stumbling or any number of things that make us the ones who don't get picked for reindeer games....
But the message that rings out louder than any ridicule, any laughing, any mocking...is the one that says: Make it your strength.
Take that bad luck, that horrific moment, that twist of fate, that flippin' blinking nose of yours and MAKE IT YOUR STRENGTH!!!
Recognize what it took to survive it. Summon the courage and the determination that it took to mount a recovery. Gather about you all that is good and right about you and the people you consider loved ones.
Santa went back to the Island of Misfit Toys and he gathered up ALL the toys because he knew they are all loveable. WE are all loveable. There is a place, a waiting and welcoming place, for every square-wheeled one of us.
And I will never believe any different for you. For me. For all of us.
The Whos in Whoville knew that it didn't take fancy boxes and bows, blinking lights and ribboned wreaths to make Christmas. What is worth and worthy and worthwhile....will never be found in what you lost. But instead, in what you found. In what you realize. In what you recognize and determine important. In what cannot come and go. Cannot be stolen. Cannot be taken.
It is an unshakeable strength. An unwavering understanding that we deserve love and happiness and success.
Surely every one of us will have those moments when people shy from us and, worse, pity us. When they are ashamed of us, embarrassed for us, maybe mock us.
But when that happens, you remember where Rudolph ended up. Rudolph's nose saved Christmas!!! In that last scene Rudolph is leading the team, soaring. Off into the night, leading the way. Needed, necessary. Not in spite of his nose. BECAUSE of it.
Don't you ever forget that Rudolph rocks that kick-ass blinking nose of his. Know it and own it. Know it and embrace it. Know it and positively soar.
Merry Christmas, my fellow misfit toys. I love you guys.