For the first time this year, my 17-year-old daughter is spending the holidays away from home, visiting a friend in another state. The plane tickets were her Christmas present, and she’s been brimming with excitement for two months.
For us, her parents, this holiday season has not been the most cheerful. In addition to bumpy career transitions and seasonal illnesses, the dystopia has tromped its way through our lives like a grinch, leaving its Christmas-stealing fingerprints in the form of rising prices, social/political instability, and uncertainty for the future.
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On Wednesday, we were set to drive her to the airport (2.5 hours away) at ass-o’clock in the morning to see her off on this adventure, this rite of passage. Her first holiday away. Her first time flying by herself.
About halfway to the airport, in the middle of nowhere, my car overheated (something that has never happened with this car before.) As I pulled over on the side of the highway to let it cool down, I knew there was no way we were going to get to the airport in time for her flight. My husband turned us around on the exit ramp to go back to a 24-hour truck stop we had just passed.
Spirits plummeted. Everyone was stressed out and our daughter was close to tears, but I collected myself enough to say a little prayer, asking for a Christmas miracle (if it was for the highest good of all involved.) Just that little moment of inner connection lifted my spirits a bit.
At the truck stop, we bought a gallon of coolant and poured it into the radiator. It all leaked out. Not a slow leak—but a pouring mess. No liquid was retained in the radiator. There must be a crack, we figured. So we jacked up the car and got to work taking the damn thing apart there in the parking lot, at ass o’clock, in freezing weather, in the middle of nowhere.
A group of cops wandered up and asked us if we were okay. For reasons having to do with the greater dystopia, we are a little apprehensive about such interactions with government enforcers, so we kept our answers brief and opaque. Most of them got bored and wandered into the truck stop cafe for coffee, but one of the officers stayed behind to help. And he was truly helpful. And friendly. And clearly cared. He offered us the benefit of his experience, purchased some items he thought would be useful to patch the leak with his own money, and bought us all tall cups of hot chocolate. Mostly, he just stuck around for moral support while we dealt with this incredibly stressful holiday snafu. This was my first Christmas miracle.
My husband and the police officer took the whole radiator apart and couldn’t find a hole, a crack, anything to patch. So they shrugged their shoulders and put it back together. Pretty sure they hadn’t solved the problem, they decided to give it another try just in case, and poured the remaining coolant in. It didn’t drain out. Whatever the problem was, it had been fixed. Somehow. This was the second Christmas miracle.
As soon as I was sure we would be able to drive the car, I got on the phone with the airline customer service people. A very nice young man was able to put our daughter on a later flight, with enough time for us to get to the airport and within the window for her to make her connecting flight. He didn’t even charge me a flight change fee. In all my first and second-hand experiences with airline customer service, the ease and friendliness with which our problem was solved was unheard of. This was our third Christmas miracle. (It was American Airlines, btw.)
The dystopia is a layer of gloom and doom over the already often challenging circumstances of mundane life. It makes the everyday difficulties and hurdles that much darker, that much scarier. It’s easy to get lost in the fog. But I’ve found that when I remind myself to take little moments for connecting with my experience in gratitude, good will, faith, and hope, that small miracles shine through the fog to light my way.
I wish you all a warm, safe, and happy Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, with maybe a small miracle or two to light your way through the dystopia.
If you’re in the mood for some humorous holiday entertainment, here’s a Christmas story I wrote last year that takes place in my dystopian Technate 2051 world. Enjoy!
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In times of real-world dystopia, dissenters must not surrender to fear and delusion, but become active protagonists in the story of restoration and realignment. The Great Reset, technocratic agendas, mass delusion, and economic insanity will create outer crises, but they can’t crush the protagonist’s spirit.
As in all good stories, the path will be difficult, with many obstacles along the way. And like all heroes, the dystopian survivor will need to develop his character in response to each struggle. Only in this way can he gain the strength he’ll need for the final battle.
By devoting ourselves to inner growth and outer integrity, we hasten dystopia’s end and acquire the skills and qualities that will be needed for rebuilding.
How to Survive Dystopia (With Your Humanity Intact) is a guide to the hero’s journey through the dystopian landscape.
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A Christmas Truce🧡