In my last blog post, “This the night before Christmas, and I will be alone”, I shared how my ex-wife and I practiced the virtue of unity to raise our son. For over fifteen years we spent the holidays together. But this year my son was scheduled to spend the night with his mother and her new husband, and I was expecting to spend Christmas Eve alone.
When I am sad, frustrated or feel like giving up, I remind myself to “choose virtues”. I picked up my dog-eared copy of the The Family Virtues Guide and did a mini refresher course starting with detachment to help me experience my feelings without allowing them to control me. I read about joyfulness to tap into my inner wellspring of peace and happiness and to even find humor even in the midst of hard times. Reading the what, why and how of enthusiasm boosted excitement for life. I got out some Christmas lights and put on my Santa hat. My transformation was complete, I was filled with the spirit of the holiday season!
I may be alone on Christmas Eve, but thanks to the virtues, I wouldn’t have to feel lonely.
Reveling in my “inherent goodness”, I headed out to meet my son, Nicolas, who had just arrived home from college. We were having lunch at our favorite Brooklyn diner when he mentioned he had some insect bites on his arms and neck area. When he showed me the bites, my heart skipped a beat. They looked like bed bug bites. My feeling of goodness suddenly turned to badness!
We’ve all heard the horror stories of how bed bugs can infest homes, offices, airplanes, and even four-star hotels. Dealing with bedbugs is a nightmare! I know, because I brought one home last year. For nearly three months my life was a torment. Any itch, tickle or twitch, real or imagined, made me scratch frantically. Only after wrapping my mattress and all of my belongings in plastic bags, vigilantly spraying the box spring and baseboards with Spray Away, spritzing my bed sheets with 91% isopropyl alcohol night after night, and drying my laundry on hot was I finally able to get rid of the of the pesky parasite!
Nicolas could sense my concern. I didn’t want to freak him out, so I took a few deep breaths to relax.
Once again, I reminded myself to “choose virtues”.
Practicing gentleness, I spoke quietly as I asked my son where he may have picked up the bed bug. Caring about someone means we listen with compassion and help with kindness. I encouraged him to take responsibility and tell his mother that he may have a bed bug hiding in his clothes or shoes, ready to jump off and reek havoc in someone’s home.
Nicolas’ mother took him to the emergency healthcare center in our neighborhood. The attending doctor could not determine if the bites were from a bed bug, a spider, an ant, or some other insect. Not wanting to risk the chance of getting invested, she asked if it would be okay for Nicolas to spend the night at my place.
All afternoon I helped my son spray his clothes and seal them in plastic bags. I brought him to my apartment, where he took a shower and put on some fresh clothes.
That night we put up the Christmas lights and enjoyed a wonderful meal together. Nicolas shared stories of his college experience and we talked and laughed like never before. It may not have been a ‘miracle’, but after expecting to be alone, spending Christmas Eve with my son was divine. As we opened a few presents he said it was the best one ever.
Around midnight we went to sleep, and “…all through the house not a creature was stirring”, not even a bed bug, thank goodness!
Wishing you and yours lots of love and happiness,
Founder and Creative Director
If you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share, please email me at scott@theVchannel.com.
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Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.