Just Around the Corner

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A most embarrassing thing happened to me when I was a kid!

I remember one day a long time ago, I was just a kid growing up in Puerto Rico sitting in the front porch of my grandparent's home watching another kid walk down the street playing with an amazing toy. It was a little magnetic wheel that would slide up and down a short, curved metallic frame, even upside down as if defying gravity - I liked that toy a lot. I ran down to my grandfather's studio where he taught piano lessons, calling out his name in a loud voice to ask him if he would buy the toy for me. After listening to the rather lengthy description of the toy and my request, grandfather replied "Don't worry, Christmas is just around the corner."

Instantly, my heart was filled with joy - I took off running out the door and down the block as my mind raced through images of hundreds of curious onlookers lined-up on the sidewalk just around the corner. They would be cheering as Santa and Reindeer paraded down the street. Certainly, Santa has my toy, I thought, now out of breath as I turned the corner, defying the law of inertia and almost running off the sidewalk into the street.

My race came to a screeching halt. There was no crowd there but instead an almost empty street, a few cars parked here and there and a young couple walked down the sidewalk opposite my side of the street. I thought, "Surely, grandpa would not lie to me, I must be early!" So I sat down on the curb, and waited.

A few hours went by. Two policemen walked by and asked what I was doing there. I promptly explained that I was waiting for the Christmas parade. They looked at each other sort of puzzled and shook their heads. Then one of them came closer and with a gentle voice said ... go on back home. I remember walking back under the beaming light of a hot Puerto Rican midday sun thinking that there would be no Christmas, no parade, and no Santa Claus. How could grandpa do this to me, I cried out while walking back to the house?

After hearing my complaint, grandmother Amelia patiently and lovingly explained that grandpa had not lied. Then she went on to explain the meaning of "just around the corner".

Often, I find refuge in this story. You see, many times we are told that Christmas is just around the corner and filled with joy we run down the block only to find disappointment, emptiness and pain. I have learned from that story however that those experiences can make you better and stronger.

My best friend, Evelyn told me a while back that "pain is mandatory ... suffering is voluntary." How right she was, we do have a choice regarding how we think and feel - you know? Most important, you may find that sometimes, a short walk down the street and around the corner will reveal unexpected wonderful surprises - presents from God.


Ed Zayas