Excuse me, thank you, sorry

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

By Steve Stricker

‘Tis the season of joy, miracles, giving, receiving, love, and birth again of our Lord. Thanksgiving is tomorrow (Go Rebels Beat State); Christmas follows 32 days after. Since Halloween we’ve been deluged with holiday sales, decorations in stores, beautiful Oxford streets, and our hearts are beginning to swell like that Grinch thingy.  

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is relatively free from commercialism associated with others, especially Christmas – allowing me to peacefully reflect on thankful holidays past at our home and Grandma’s in Charleston, M0., my sisters in New Madrid, which humbly reflected the paintings of Norman Rockwell…pretty close to “perfect.”

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After a long, weird summer, it was somewhat magical to again let our minds wander to no sweaty yard issues, and to that “Norman Rockwell” perfectly decorated table with plump turkey, presents under the impeccably decorated tree, family gathered, laughing, wonderful to again be surrounded by fuzzy warmth and no worries or familial issues. 

It is said (not having been there) that a woman soon forgets the pains of birth and wants another child.  For the most part, it is in our nature to gloss over ongoing stuff, ignore our brain, go with our hearts, and give and give.

Christmas is like a microcosm of life; it arrives, hearts full, gifts exchanged, mountain of joy, happiness explode, and then eye blink, the warm fuzzy glow subsides, discarded wrappings, boxes are placed on the curb, decorations taken down, vacations end, reality sets in, work and routine return, bills increase, and another depressive year begins. 

Preferably, we will not wait until December 31st to make the proverbial “New Year’s Resolution” but will evaluate and tweak our performance throughout the year, like right now before Thanksgiving.  

Dr. William Glasser (my Reality Therapy) “If we do not evaluate our own behavior, or have it evaluated, and do not act to improve our conduct where it is below standards, we will not fulfill our need to be worthwhile and will suffer as acutely as when we fail to love or be loved.”  He said that from birth to old age we need to both be loved unconditionally by at least one other person (parent, friend, priest, teacher, editor, cat, significant other) who is in touch with reality and able to meet their own needs, and unconditionally love at least one other person throughout our lives as our health and happiness will depend upon our ability to do so. 

We cannot control life events, only how we choose to react to them.  What has happened to us in the past is important as it has contributed to who we are now, but the past can’t be changed.  So we must focus on our current situation to evaluate if what we are doing will satisfy our needs, or if we need to choose to change our behavior that will allow us to fulfill our needs in a responsible manner.  Glasser says, “A person who is unhappy being miserable and seeks change can learn more satisfying behaviors at any age.  Like changing a bad golf swing – once learned it may be difficult, but obtainable.”  Send me a golf mentor Glasser, who I met and saw in person at SEMO.

Pope Francis recently said, “Let us remember the three key words to live in peace: excuse me, thank you, sorry.” “Argue as much as you want, if the plates start flying, so be it. But never let the day end without making peace – Never.” 

So, message to me and you, be aware, cautious this holiday season, lower your expectations, love and allow others to love you, make responsible choices, reach out to at least three other people every day (paradigm bran shift) realize that our God is great, nothing is impossible, and to be aware of our behavior.  A miracle is waiting you/me in 2023/2024! Peace Out.    

GO REBELS – Beat State on Thanksgiving!

Steve is an Oxford resident, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, and can be reached at, sstricke@olemiss.edu