How Many Really Care?
Another year and, almost to the day, I am home in pain as I was nine years ago. This time, instead of my head pounding as it was then, it is my back. Sleep was problematic last night. Back in 2007, sleep was not an option for two nights in a row. With the season of gifting on the horizon, my plan to go Christmas shopping is on hold. If the pain eases, maybe it will be possible to go late this evening. Looking back to that year after my family and I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, 24-hours stores were an exciting development. Just a few years earlier it was unheard of – stores opening beyond 9:00 p.m. Wal-Mart became the trendsetter and many retailers followed along. Those for who this time of the year is a Blue Christmas, the shopping frenzy must be maddening.
That is a perfect segue to the question – the perennial question. “How many people really care about the traditions of Christmas?” Does it really matter anymore that this is a religious holiday season? It is the question that I asked when this post was first published in 2007. Does the birth of a man who by his living transformed the traditional practice of religion still matter?
Some people actually hate the season. For them, it is not necessarily the consumerism that has captured its spirit that they despise. What is hurtful for them are the memories and reminders that it holds for them. Elvis Presley, I believe it was him, described their sentiment with his song “Blue Christmas,” or whatever the title.
I’ll Have A Blue Christmas Without You
Nine years ago, I knew and shared those feelings.
It was a first-time experience for me as Christmas was always “the most wonderful time of the year.” Even when my mother was baking tin ham (go figure) because she could not afford to buy the picnic ham. All my conscious life, until my 41st year, Christmas was a time that I eagerly anticipated. It was when I had freedom in my mother’s kitchen to practice my culinary skills – to varying degrees of success.
Christmas 2006 was a different story. I wrote a very baleful post back then, one that rivaled Elvis’ or any other crooner’s most sorrow-filled Christmas song. One day I might revive and share it with you.
Who was it that said, “The only constant is change?” Whoever made such an insightful statement should be awarded a prize! They were? It was well deserved then as I am here to say that observation is absolutely true.
For some time now, I have been ‘testifying’ or sharing my mess, making it my message. I do this not because I am a Pentecostal or something of the sort. That has become my way because I strongly believe that stories that witness to the goodness in and of life ought to be shared.
Change is the only constant. That can and is a frightening thought for many. It certainly was to me in the past. So terrifying to the point that I did not want to have another – thought about changing that is.
One evening in December 2007, over an early supper with a woman-friend, I reminded her of her late mother’s words. We had found them written on a piece of paper in her mother’s apartment as we cleared it. Those words returned to me earlier that day as I reflected on my journey from the previous year. Her mother had written, in short, “I have come to learn that it is not time but love that heals.”
Just a side note here but connected to this thought. It has served me well to journal and later re-read my journals. This helps me to:
- see the recurring themes and patterns in my experiences
- see where situations that “were meant for evil, God meant for good,” have played out
- get back on track or re-focus my energies on what matters.
The year before (2006) was well-noted in my journals as a Blue Christmas. One year later, sitting with my friend, the progress that I made were clear. I saw how Love was healing my life.
Turning Blue To Rainbow
Approaching Christmas 2007, I gratefully reported several things on my blog. Among them were the fact that:
- My beautiful daughter and I (her equally beautiful mother) were sworn in as Canadian citizens on December 18. Becoming a citizen felt amazing! Don’t let anything stop you from becoming a citizen… including a criminal record. Obtaining a Canadian Pardon can allow you to become a citizen and reap all the benefits I now have!
- I was healthy and growing from strength to strength each day. Psychologically, I was free from the pills that, although they helped me to regain my perspective, somewhat diminished my intellectual capacity.
- Spiritually, I was getting stronger than I had ever been at any point prior in my life.
- I now had a vote!! That was the most exciting thing for me about becoming a Canadian citizen my ability to exercise my franchise.
- Economically, for the first time in my adult years I felt as if I can make it on my own.
As the saying goes – “I am too blessed to be stressed,” – no Blue Christmas for me. There have been bumps along the way over those years. Yet none of them have stopped me dead in my tracks.
Yes, there were several Christmas Eve nights that I was sitting alone in the pew of a strange church. And yes, most of my Christmas morning breakfasts since 2007 were had alone. But, I always had my favourite Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish with ham cuttings and fried dumplings.
I am alive, I am well and all is well! Thanks be to Source! That is how I turned my blue into rainbows. By keeping my eyes as much and as often as possible on the Source of all things in my life.
Knowing full well that not everyone enjoys this season, do be as sensitive as you can without limiting your own thanksgiving. It is indeed a time to give thanks – for another year, another chance to make another choice, another opportunity to let Love heal what ails you.