If you left your boots out last night, they were full of goodies this morning.

Because today, the 6th of December, is Nikolaus.

Would you know my name?
If I saw you in heaven
Would it be the same?
If I saw you in heaven

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, he lived in the 4th century, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

There are a few reasons why today is special in my life. There is, of course, the boot full of sweets I remember from when I was young. There is my Saint’s Day, my ‘Namenstag’, just one day before on the 5th of December – in my younger years a day nearly more important than my birthday. There is the year when most of my family came over from Germany to celebrate with us my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. And I went to Germany for the funeral of my best friend from college times, Klaus, who died at 43 years of age. On his ‘Namenstag’, St. Nikolaus. He died because he thought he could not carry on.

He was a social worker working with ‘problematic’ kids. They turned up at the funeral and stopped the proceedings to have a few minutes their way. Someone had brought a CD player and then – they played Tears in Heaven.

You will never listen to a song the same way once you have it associated with a particular event or circumstance. I can never listen to that song again without thinking of the cold dark morning in the little chapel in the graveyard.

Pádraig’s days are really busy, at times exhausting. It is a bit like going to work: getting up early in the morning, do your thing, and get back home tired, ready to relax and then get ready for a good night’s sleep.

And that is what it is primarily about: living a life with purpose. Doing stuff, participating, being integrated in a community. The therapy ‘just’ allows that to happen.

I must be strong
And carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong
Here in heaven