By, Billy Beasley
Christmas proves to be a time of reflection for most of us. Christmas memories tug at our heartstrings and those that are no longer with us frequent our thoughts more often.
There was a time I truly hated Christmas. It was a memory that I even wrote in a story about a character that finds his solace during the Holiday season to escape to an isolated cabin in the mountains. I never did that but I wanted to.
That is not the case now. I love Christmas. I love that my wife, Julie transforms from a woman in her forties to a small child.
The Christmas movies, songs, and shopping for the tree. The photos and picking that perfect shot for your personalized Christmas card. Yes, I am even part of one of those families now.
What stands out to me this Christmas, as I reflect back over this year and my life in general, is if you would have told me that at age twenty, thirty, or even a few years ago that my best year would be the year I turned sixty-one-I would have asked if you had temporarily taken leave of your sanity.
But it is true that while I am in the Fall of my life this has proven to be the most happy and peaceful year of my life. There are several factors that add up to this being the best one yet. One very nice luxury is that for the first time since I was fourteen years old I did not work a job at anytime this year. Julie and I decided late last year that rather than continuing to work low paying jobs that I did not really derive satisfaction from that it was better to supplement my pension with some savings and enjoy life.
I even have enjoyed a year in which, thanks to a mild winter, I was able for the first time in my life to take pleasure in the beach days at Carolina Beach, every month of the year. I even found it warm enough to venture into the ocean on those days.
Julie and I also have enjoyed our best year of marriage. We look forward to celebrating our fifth anniversary next April by returning to the same cabin we honeymooned in. All our years have been good but this is the best.
We have fewer arguments and we know each other better. Julie would add that we have learned to fight fair. Now, if I have disappointed any of you by sharing that our wonderful marriage is not always perfect than I apologize. It is really good and I am happier with Julie than I ever dreamed I could be in a relationship.
Despite my rocky road in life in regards to relationships I am not surprised that we have such a good marriage. I took comfort going into it that we had two wonderful things in our favor. We both did not seek our happiness in each other. That is too big to put on anyone, anyone but our Father that is. He was and still is first in our lives. I also knew that we understood what was important in this life. That it was truly the simple things in life that count so much more than chasing things. The trappings of this world, be it bigger houses, fancier cars, larger bank accounts will never bring you peace and happiness. You will enjoy them for a season but soon you will desire something bigger, faster, sleeker, and younger. It is like the hamster on the wheel. Running relentlessly but winding up in the same place.
And while not being tied to a job I don’t care for, or enjoying my wonderful wife, and being free to enjoy working with our dog, Teke—she and I are in the Park woods, near our home, so much that the staff knows us by name.
Add in the unseasonably warm beach days that I have enjoyed. All of this is not the main reason for this year being the happiest and most peaceful.
It would be because this was the year I allowed God to stretch me spiritually to places that at the beginning of this year I would have said, “No way. I am not going there. I am not your man, God.”
I would have stood by this being the best year of my life even without something occurring late in the year that has been so important for so long. The second paragraph of this column, I mentioned a character that chose to hide in the mountains during the Holidays. It is no longer just a story but a story that a publisher has said yes to. The Preacher’s Letter will be traditionally published next month.
I get out of sorts at times and my wife always wants to know why. Lately, during those times she has quizzed me. “Is it about the book?” And I can scarcely believe I can honestly answer each time, “No.” I will work at it and give it my best chance for success but ultimately God holds the final decision on where it goes or does not go and I am okay with that.
Because even if The Preacher’s Letter sells thousands of copies and is turned into a major motion film, it will not alter the following. I am happy. I am at peace. I am loved. What more does a man really require?
Meet the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke. They are active members of Lifepoint Church in Wilmington, NC.
Billy is the author of The River Hideaway- a traditionally published work of faith based fiction. He shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in this novel. Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’.
You can read Billy's "Sunday Inspiration" column here at Pandora's Box Gazette the 2nd Sunday each month.