I don’t love Christmas for myself. I like buying presents for my friends and family. But I really don’t enjoy receiving presents.
It makes me very uncomfortable. It’s not that I am not grateful. I just hate being the center of attention.
Growing up a fat kid isn’t easy. It messes with your head. To this day, I hate eating in front of a crowd. I always have the fear that even if I am eating a small, healthy meal, people will be thinking, “No wonder he is so fat.”
I know that is irrational. My rational mind knows that most people couldn’t care less what I was eating or not eating. I don’t keep track of the diets of everyone in a room.
But that little quirk is similar to the emotions that cause me not to like receiving presents.
But I received a present at church Sunday that I loved.
Because I have written columns for almost 25 years, I know that I disagree with a lot of people who I really like. Unfortunately, a lot of readers don’t separate those two very well.
If you disagree with something they believe, they get angry and let you know about it. But I go to church with a man who gets it.
He disagrees with a lot of political columns I write. However, when we see each other in church or at sporting events, he has never been anything but friendly and funny.
That has made him one of my favorite people in the three years I have been in Shawnee.
On Sunday, our church had a different schedule than normal due to the Christmas holiday weekend. But that didn’t deter him.
After the service he came up to me and my family and greeted us like normal. But then he gave me a small gift bag.
Inside was a small blue key ring. He had remembered the column I wrote about my wife losing her keys – in her purse – and causing a lot of fun one Sunday morning.
He got her an extra key ring to help her keep track of those tricky keys.
Even though he disagrees with the vast majority of my political columns, he doesn’t let that affect our friendship.
As blogger and writer Matthew Jacobson once said, “Even if we disagree about everything, we can still be kind to each other.”
That is so true, and that is why I appreciate people who are living proof of it.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.