Archive for December, 2022

December 15, 2022

If you can be anything you want to be….

by Rod Smith

In a world where you and I and children are often told we can be anything we want to be, I’d suggest we all:

  • Be kind to others, aware of others, and make room in our hearts for those who are less fortunate than we are, understanding that “less fortunate” may (or may not) have to do with money and opportunity. 
  • Be assertive, be clear about what we need and what we will and we will not do while understanding that being assertive is not the same as being stubborn.
  • Be generous with our time and resources by doing our part to empower others when and where it is possible. Promoting others ahead of ourselves almost always results in rewards that come in beautiful and unexpected ways.
  • Be as prepared as possible for our daily tasks and for achieving our short and long term goals. Doing our homework will not only save a lot of time and energy and probably money, it is respectful to those with whom we will need to interact. 
  • Be forgiving. Very few people – although there are some – intend to hurt others. May we offer a wide berth to the failings and frailties of others given that we may find the need for similar treatment from others. 
  • Be inclusive with others by reaching out beyond our established circles and established routines.
December 14, 2022


by Rod Smith

Are you discouraged? Are you at the end of your tether? Looking for answers? Seeking questions?  

Look for the spark, the spark of life, it lies within, deep within you – and it is a good place to start when wrestling with discouragement. 

Finding answers, uncovering the antidote for whatever is at the heart of discouragement is not somewhere “out there” as an empowering truth hiding in a new, or old, book you are yet to discover.

It is not in some powerpoint presentation from a speaker you are yet to hear or on a social media platform seeking to solve therapeutic issues.

It’s not lurking to be revealed in some undiscovered podcast. 

The spark is deep within you.

It is located within you in the place where spirit meets soul, the ven intersection where thinking, planning and your longings, even confiused longings, overlap; the place where desire for worship and the need for vulnerability and transparency merge into one large inner-venue, the place we typically call Self.

The deep place – this beautiful and holy atrium within you – is not easily identified or accessed and yet it drives everything about you (and me).

Also, although it deserves full attention, it will, ironically, not be found in a hurry. Oddly, we are usually very familiar with this place in the inner-Person and yet can live long lives offering little or no attention perhaps in the manner an indifferent spouse may do in a failing flailing marriage.

The spark within the Self, the beautiful Self will not race nor be rushed, but while it is raced, rushed, scheduled, it is unlikely to turn from spark to a comforting, leading flame.

Want to find it?

Get a pencil, paper and a quiet place and sit, sit, sit and think and resist the urge to pick up your phone or check your email.

When you have calmed your inner-being, try to answer these questions: 

What do I really want?

What do I have to offer?

What am I really good at?

Do this for a few hours every week by lingering in this holy space and let the words flow into phrases until they find their sentences and let the sentences run free, unmonitored, released to declare whatever it is this deep place within you wants to declare. Do this for a while – days, weeks, months, make it a repeated retreat of habit – and there is a real possibility your anxieties and any sense of desperation will find inner-calm and your inner-spark will emerge and build into a guiding light to renew and refresh your life and connect you with things far more important than the distractions your phone and so much else, will persist in providing.

December 9, 2022

Do you believe in Santa?

by Rod Smith

Of course I believe in Santa

I saw Santa at the Children’s Museum with a feather of a child pleading her case. They were locked in discussion, a confessional of sorts, as she entered into detail of her every Christmas wish. Hands, eyes, and all of her face enticed Santa closer lest he miss a detail living so clearly in her head.

“Oh, you want, oh, I see it. Why yes, of course. Perfectly,” Santa said, his voice tapering off into her ear, “I will see what I can do about that.”

Then she nestled into his side, her shoulders comfortably enveloped by his plush red suit as if to declare her mission accomplished. He was a perfect depiction of everything I imagined him to be and the sight easily immersed me in the voices and music of my own Christmases past.

Santa came all year round to our home. I’d look through the window in April or mid-August and Santa would be strolling up the driveway on his return from visits to every home on the street. He’d be wearing dad’s shoes and one of his ties underneath the tatty red coat, but I knew better than to expose his identity. I wanted to believe in Santa and he in turn needed me to believe. Such faith had rewards. I knew better than to dash my own hopes. I wasn’t ready to lose my trust in Santa for anyone and certainly not by my own hand.

He couldn’t resist visits to the whole neighborhood and would drop in from time to time and inspire children toward good behavior, perfect obedience at school, and remind them to count their blessings one by one. At every appearance in our home we’d sing “The Little Boy that Santa Clause Forgot” and we’d all have to cry. He insisted on it.

The lines “he didn’t have a daddy” and “went home to play with last year’s broken toys” really got us going.

It was clear he sang to all the children of the world who’d had to skip childhood and who had known poverty; children who’s fathers had gone to war or whose fathers or mothers had fled their families.

Donning the suit, surprising the children, was our Santa’s way of making the world right.

His visits created intrigue in the neighborhood, and to every child he repeated the promise that this Christmas, no child on this street would be forgotten. As far as I could tell none ever was.

The last Christmas we had together was in August of 1994. We were riding in a car and in the curves of Bluff Road when spontaneously he began to sing, “Christmas comes but once a year.”

The car became a holy place as I heard once more of the boy who “wrote a note to Santa for some soldiers and a drum and it broke his little heart to find Santa hadn’t come.”

The tears we both shed required no encouragement for we both somehow knew this would be the last time he’d sing this nostalgic hymn.

Now this old song is top of my list of Christmas songs.

The melody emerges randomly in my awareness, most particularly when faced with children who are in need. I have had to silence it at all times of the year.

It was the little girl’s confidence, Santa’s grace, and the loving parents looking from the side that caught my attention last week. She touched his flowing beard and told him her every Christmas dream and I found myself listing my own requests with childlike zeal.

It gave me renewed hope that you and I, the real Santas of the world, could deliver a more hopeful tomorrow for “those little girls and boys that Santa Claus forgot.”

(First published December 9, 2000 in the Indianapolis Star)