I’m Dreaming Of Another White-washed Christmas

Christmas has come and gone mostly unchallenged throughout my life. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I learned about the Christian co-option of the pagan holiday (war on Christmas, indeed! Pssh).

I learned dozens of Christmas Carols as a child, singing them in church, and caroling out in the neighborhood (sort of like Halloween – but cookies & cocoa instead of other treats – and we sang for our supper – uh – dessert?) Join the proletariat effort!

I still have my favorites, but doubt the whole ‘Jesus in a manger on a cold winter’s night’ motif – seeing as lambing happens in the spring, but whatev – believe what you want – don’t let facts get in your way.

It was eye-opening, though, when I found out that Jesus is one of many ‘gods’ or ‘sons’ with the same or similar miraculous and humble circumstances. There’s: Horus, Osiris, Attis, Mithra, Heracles, Dionysus, Tammuz, Adonis, and others – born of a virgin, or appearing on December 25th, and it’s just an amazing coincidence that our lord and savior, Jesus the Christ, was also born on that date, of a virgin! There are many places to read about this, but here’s a link:

http://www.weekendcollective.com/all-the-gods-born-to-virgins-on-december-25-before-jesus-christ/

I did not know this. All the teachers and other assorted educated ministers, priests, other religious figureheads, never made this known. It was Jesus, and Jesus only.

That’s why believing in Jesus was so easy.

Jesus is a wonderful exemplar. He’s full of compassion, hope, change, giving to the poor, healing the sick, making the rich look like the assholes they were – and still are. He admonished his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’, rather than seek revenge or retaliation. He would save your soul if you believed in him – interceding for humankind. Why would you turn your back on that?

Unless, it’s more fable than fact. You can marry historical events and the supernatural – spinning it however you wish – but it doesn’t make it true.

If it makes you feel better, then that’s great – but don’t try to make me abide by your fairy tales, and I won’t make you try to abide by mine.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tis The Season

From: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2011/sep/09/autumn-food-breaks-italy-france
From: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2011/sep/09/autumn-food-breaks-italy-france

Nat King Cole croons The Christmas Song, and I remember that it’s my sister-in-law’s favorite holiday song.  Many years ago we went caroling: she, my brother (her husband), my next oldest sister, and our younger brother, as well as some family friends, and I remember our fun, our exuberance, and just us as young adults.

Eventually, our lives expanded out like the big bang – each of us in our various orbits, claiming our bit of space, our independence from one another.

What role our family trauma played, I’m unsure, but untreated trauma does not resolve of its own. It can be medicated, white-knuckled, tossed outward, or left festering inside, but it has to be handled.

There are healthy ways of dealing with trauma and not so healthy ways.  So much creativity has been born from pain, and those who’ve had that outlet are sometimes healed, but not always.

I doubt my brother would want me to feel sad for him.  It’s not pity he needs, and it’s not pity I’m giving.  I lived with my parents too.  I was there too.  I was affected too.

He doesn’t want advice from his littlest sister, even though I had to deal with my trauma or die – even though I sought professional help, and practiced the tools I was given – even though I trained to help other trauma survivors – even though sometimes it’s still next to unbearable remaining alive.

The best way out is through, for me.  Just let the feelings be, but visit the skills I’ve learned before I’m in crisis.  I forget that.  I think I’m healed – that I’m all done feeling pain – or that I’ll always cope well from now on.

Pride kicks in too – the belief that I’m knowledgeable, and therefore untouchable.  The other side is despair.  Why remain alive if I keep going through this, or if I can’t make life better?

I can hold my brother in my heart – as well as my whole family – and I re-affirm that he is whole and complete.  He is competent, capable, and has enough humility to seek what he needs.  He knows I care, he knows I’m available, and he knows I understand as perhaps few others can.

He’s made it through, all these years later, and I remember that what’s not dealt with keeps manifesting itself until it’s faced – whenever, or however, that trauma shows up.

I’ve re-connected with most of my siblings after raising my son and having my space again.  My S.O. has been an understanding, caring, and deeply loving partner, and I know how rare that is, and I still want to run away now and then.  My old nemeses, fear, self-hate, and depression, muscle their way in, but if I’m fortified enough, they’re easier to battle.

This time of year is filled with the ghosts of trauma past, their presence appearing unconsciously, making it seem as though now is the problem, or that I have made no emotional progress.

I cannot save my brother, or anyone who doesn’t want to be saved, but I continue to love and care anyway. The violence witnessed, and perpetrated on us, got into our psyches, but it was also programmed into our DNA before we were born, from the violence done to our parents, and on down our line, but we can use our will, we can learn self-love, and we can practice self-care, changing not only ourselves, but the DNA we pass on to our children, and that they will pass on to theirs.

Christmas is about hope in terrible circumstances.  Whether it’s just a story, or has some historical truth, the message, to me, is perseverance, self-love, and love, and hope, for humanity.

Love, kindness, and care are what matters, and the carols my family and friends used to sing were, and still are, a gift of light in a dark season – for ourselves as well as others.

I wish all whatever you need, and for more joy, comfort, peace, and love – whatever you celebrate, or not!

Happy all-the-days. 🙂

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Battling Ben Stein

While Ben Stein might be an intelligent and well-known man, his thoughts are no more valid than other thinking beings’ ideas.  There is commentary circulating in letter form attributed to Mr. Stein, although it’s been modified several times, and contains a few central ideas he actually said – which of course are now taken out of context and promoted all over Facebook, and through email, as some sort of manifesto from Mr. Stein, and championed by all who agree with him.

I’m posting my thoughts first, which are followed by his commentary:

My rebuttal:

Oh, Ben, and all the others who tagged their ignorance onto his original thoughts.  First, equating Dr. Spock’s offering an alternative to violent discipline to why his son killed himself is a truly vile, libelous, statement, and your ‘letter’ can be disregarded solely on that basis.  Our children have no conscience because we don’t spank them anymore?  I was hit as a child – there was no Dr. Spock philosophy in my household – and I have plenty desire to do violence, especially to those who spout such stupidity.

Ben states: “I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.”

Well, that’s a sentiment I can agree with, but here’s the thing Mr. Stein:  People who don’t believe in God, in whatever form you’d express that God, are the ones who have been seriously ‘pushed around’.  People have been force-fed Christianity for thousands of years in a ‘believe or die’ hate-fest.  I honestly don’t care whatever you believe until those beliefs come to bear on non-believers, and how they can live.  You’re sick of people being chided for trying to make others live by a set of commands that don’t pertain to them?  You want a theocracy, and that’s the mandate of religious people, but a theocracy would fundamentally, and I believe, detrimentally, change our Democratic Republic.  We’d be like Saudi Arabia, and all other countries who rule from the pulpit.  And those people are deeply corrupt, Mr. Stein, et al, because they are flawed human beings ruling over others with impunity.  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

You don’t agree, and that’s fine, but when no one is offering an alternative to your opinion, it appears that most people agree with you, or are so cowed by your statements that they won’t give answer to them.  I’m simply trying to disavow you of that notion.

I don’t think we should ‘worship celebrities’, and who is not allowing you to worship God?!  You have any number of places and times to worship.  You can put down a prayer rug and pray on the sidewalk.  And there will be horrible people trying to stop you, but it won’t be atheists, or agnostics, it will be fundamentalist, hate-filled, people who try to prevent you.  It will be other religious fanatics trying to squash your ability to worship, and not non-believers!  Non-believers only care when you’re trying to ‘shove’ your religion and beliefs ‘down our throat’!  You can, in fact, pray in school – it’s just not a thing like having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance en masse.

Isn’t it nice to be wished a Happy Chanukah if you’re a practicing Jew, even if you’re glad to be wished Merry Christmas?  Just because someone is trying to be inclusive by saying ‘happy holidays’ should not make them a threat to your beliefs and celebrations.  I was a Christian for much of my life, and I’m fine with being wished a ‘Merry Christmas’ too, even though my beliefs no longer include the erroneous Christmas story.  I even wish others a ‘Merry Christmas’ on December 25th because it’s a cultural norm, and a way to honor those who celebrate that day as their decided upon ‘birth of a Savior’.

I like Menorahs, and the tale of Chanukah, and I like the story of Jesus, and the crèche/manger scene.  I like the lights, and decorating trees, and singing Christmas songs, because they’re pretty, regardless of my belief or non-belief.  Those traditions lift my spirits in a dark time of the year.

And then there’s the paragraph about Billy Graham’s daughter who said she thinks God has backed away from us because we asked Him too.  You can believe her, and live superstitiously all you want, but like having a black cat cross your path, and then tragedy happening, doesn’t make the cat responsible for your misfortune.  Hurricane Katrina wasn’t caused by God, and when you suggest that, you’re suggesting that we all be superstitious rather than rational, and that is a far deeper tragedy than not believing in God.

Another error Mr. Stein (or whoever altered his original thoughts) attempts is this:

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

You are connecting heinous acts with the removal of state sanctioned prayer in school.  You can pray in school, you can bring your Bible to school; you cannot proselytize in school, however.  The Bible may say ‘thou shalt not kill’, and the other nine commandments, but you are assuming that humanity would have killed each other off were it not for those words sent down from a mountain top.  But, if you continue to read the Bible, people never stopped doing exactly what was ‘forbidden’ them.  Ever.  We kill, we fornicate, we lust, we have avarice, and pride.  It didn’t work.  The words fell on mostly deaf ears – and those were believers!  Those were people who heard Moses recite the tablet, who later read that book, who still promote the ideas of that book while molesting the children in their congregations.

It is unfettered greed that has led to the condition we find ourselves in.  We’ve never lost biblical and other religious works’ guidance, and still commit horrific crimes even when reading those words and trying to practice those precepts.  You’d claim that we are savages without religious guidance, but there are many examples of Peoples in the world who never heard of your god, or any god, who lived peacefully, who settled their differences, who made sure that their communities had enough.  It is disingenuous to claim that less religion is the reason for world turmoil.

No, Mr. Stein, I’m not laughing, but it is laughable that you continue to inject logical fallacies as fact.  You say: “Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.”

What newspapers contain are usually knowable facts, Mr. Stein, et al.  God is not a knowable fact.  God is a presumption, and those who believe in God have to go on faith that what is said is true.  I like what’s knowable, and do have belief in unknowable/unverifiable things, but that is my personal prerogative, and I don’t try to make anyone else live by, or subscribe to, my quite possibly fantasy world.  Belief in ‘the Lord’ is a personal decision.  I don’t spread that around the internet or email because that’s proselytizing, and I prefer attraction to promotion.  For the record, I don’t like lewd, crude, vulgar, and obscene jokes or pictures, and my friends know that about me, and respectfully don’t send those kinds of things to me, and if I see it on Facebook, or elsewhere, I hide the page, or otherwise disengage from that kind of ‘humor’, and I’m still grateful that prayer is not mandated in school.  You are free to move to a repressive theocratic nation, Mr. Stein, et al.

I believe there is nobility in spiritual books.  My views diverge from those who follow such works literally.  My impetus is toward bringing more light into this world, not less, and perhaps that stems from my religious upbringing, but I think it’s mostly a result from being harmed throughout my childhood, and young adulthood.  I don’t want others to suffer like I did, so I treat others kindly, but I refuse to be ill-used anymore, or remain silent in the face of ignorance.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

October – Surprise!

I was just getting used to it being September.  This happens every year.  I’m not a good planner.  After the holidays – which I consider Halloween to be the start of – I always intend to get a jump on the new year, and plan out the holiday season.  I think I’ll plan a Halloween party, or try to get a group together to go somewhere interesting, like Salem, MA, for the day.  And then, I think I’ll be better prepared for Thanksgiving, and have a new dish to bring, and invariably I spend the day before running around to just get a pie or two made, never mind experimenting with a new recipe for the holiday.  Then our family Christmas gathering will be upon us, and then Christmas Day with my son.  I wonder what that will be like this year because he doesn’t live at home anymore?  Maybe he’ll gift me with his presence this holiday!  Hope springs eternal – and speaking of spring – I didn’t even do my fall cleaning, never mind what spring expects!  Oh, but, summer, I can hardly wait for that!  I want to have some lake-side parties, and a couple of beach days, and before I know it, autumn will be here again.  Darn, I had wanted to have a scarecrow making day with a group of friends.  Oh well, maybe next year.  Wait!  It’s only October 2nd!  I have plenty of time…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

2011 Christmas Day

It was such a lovely morning.  My son gave me a beautiful sweater, and he liked the few gifts I got him as well.  He really enjoyed his stuffed stocking, and it makes me so happy to see his happiness.  That’s the best aspect of parenting.  I don’t care how old your child/ren is/are: wanting for, and taking pleasure in, their happiness, and success, is paramount.

We had a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast, and then we made our Gingerbread house.  We don’t have a good track record at that activity.  We’ve only made two of them before, both of which came out awful.  We didn’t name the first one, but we dubbed the second one: “Sucky, the Gingerbread House”, and this one my son named: “Mediocre, the Gingerbread House”.  We did have a lot of fun making it, and maybe any future attempts will give better results.

My son’s feeling mostly himself again, although he still has a cough, and he told me he woke up drenched in sweat in the middle of the night so he left his room and slept on the couch, where I found him this morning.

He left a little while ago to hang out with friends, and while I want him to stay well, it was really nice to have him home and wanting my help and company for the last few days.

Merry Christmas every one!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Christmas Eves

1989: I spent the evening with Joe; I moved in with him here in Vernon, Vermont, a few weeks ago.  I’m happy that there’s snow on the ground so it will be a white Christmas.  My brother, Scott, died in October, and I’m sad for my mom this holiday season.  I still feel nothing.  I don’t know why death doesn’t affect me directly, I guess that’s a coping mechanism.

1990: Our son’s first Christmas.  He’s only two months old, so it’s not really a big deal for him, but Joe’s daughter is spending Christmas morning with us, and she’ll be happy to get the Super Nintendo game system with, The Mario Brothers/Duck Hunt, and, Donkey Kong, games, and spend time with her brother.  Things have not been good between Joe and I, but we’re trying to work it out.

1991: My father and step-mother are visiting from Florida.  I’m happy that my father is getting to spend some time with his grandson, although it’s been kind of awkward when they’re here because my mom is spending Christmas here in my new apartment.

1992: I’m in my new apartment in South Portland, Maine.  My mom is here with me, and there is a lot of snow this winter, which Austen loves to play in.  My car broke down a few weeks after moving in here, and I can’t afford another one, but there’s a bus stop down at the end of the street, and a few of the Bahá’í‘s here in South Portland bring me to run errands once a week.  Joe is visiting over the holidays, and it’s been horrible and stressful – as usual.

1994: San Diego Christmas is quite different from what I’m used to.  It’s not really warm, about the mid-50°F’s, and rainy, but the air feels different, and I’m not sure I like it.  I’m at a 10-day program because I don’t want to live anymore but Tammy convinced me to see if this will help me.  I’ll get a counselor, and start an antidepressant, and I know it’s what I need to do, but I feel horrible being away for Christmas.

1996: Back in Massachusetts.  My mother is spending Christmas with me and Austen in our tiny apartment.  Things have been awful.  I’m still not getting child support, so that just makes everything tougher.

1999: It’s been a strange year.  I’m wondering if the Y2K thing is really going to screw up computers worldwide – I doubt it.  I told Austen that Santa was a real person a long time ago, and his spirit still lives on through all of us.  The other kids at school were picking on him for still believing in Santa.  He refused to believe me when I told him Santa isn’t still alive.  I don’t know if I did the right thing.

2001: I consider this the millennium year, even though I know many people considered 2000 to be the turn of the century.  I guess it’s both: 2000 because it’s no longer 19-something, but 2001 because CE started with year 1, so 2001 makes two-thousand years.  We’re still here, although a bunch of freaks were trying to convince whomever they could that the world was going to end.

2011: I think my favorite aspect of Christmas Eve is filling my son’s stocking.  When he was little, it was so gratifying to see his delight, and share in how fun Christmas was for him.  He used to love Christmas carols and we’d sing them together, and now he can barely stand them.  He’s feeling so much better tonight, but still coughing a lot.  I might watch, It’s A Wonderful Life, but I’m feeling tired, so maybe I’ll just go to sleep.  My throat is feeling a bit scratchy, and I hope I don’t get sick too.

This year has been so strange.  As I looked back through old diaries and read so much of where I’ve been, and what my life is like now, I appreciate now so much.  I don’t care if someone reads my old journals someday, but I sincerely doubt they’d read for very long.  I’m just grateful that I’m not as affected by the vicissitudes of life anymore.  I also did a great deal of healing work to get where I am now, and will most likely finish that work with my last breath.  I’m thankful to be alive, and hope I won’t die until I accomplish most, if not all, of my goals.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Festive Photos

I’m not sure if I wish I were a better decorator, or more into decorating, or if I wish I simply enjoyed the efforts of my friends and others, and leave it at that.  Decking the halls (any halls, in any season) is not my forte.  It never has been, and more than likely, never will be.  It’s so lovely when a home is made beautiful, and I can appreciate it, but I’m more of a minimalist.  That probably stems from having moved so often rather than any true life philosophy.

I know this looks like a sailor hat, but it’s really a Santa/Elf cap.  I didn’t realize how far back it had slid!

I like how my shaky low-light exposure picture-taking caused the lights to look like Christmas bells!  I should pretend that I meant to take the picture that way, but it would come back to me somehow.  I’d get asked to create more pictures like that, and never be able to replicate it! 😉

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

O Christmas Tree

I’m really enjoying my Christmas tree.  Part of me feels bad that a tree was cut down so I could bring it inside my house to decorate and light up, only to discard it a few weeks from now.  I’ve struggled with that dilemma the last few times I got a real Christmas tree.  I didn’t even have a tree last year, but it really cheers up the room.  I’ve bought artificial trees twice now, and used them until I became really allergic (because of all the dust they gather – and likely some mildew too from humid summer weather), and the best option is probably a potted live tree that I can plant in the spring.  Although, not only do I like a taller Christmas tree than is reasonable with a potted tree, I’d have to get permission from the landlord to plant it, or find some other land to plant the tree on.  Seeing the top of my tree nearly reach the ceiling is satisfying somehow, and no artificial tree has the lovely aroma of fresh pine – no matter how much they ‘scent’ it in the factory.

Many years ago, my next oldest sister and I, along with our younger brother, went to Florida to spend Christmas with our father and step-mother.  Our father didn’t want to get a Christmas tree, but we kids decided he and our step-mother needed one, so off my sister, brother, and I went the next day, while my father and step-mother were at work, and bought a beautiful potted Norfolk pine that stood about four and half feet high.

We also bought decorations for it, and after we adorned it, and lit the tree up, the house felt much more festive.  A year or so later, my step-mother sent me a picture of the pine, which they had planted in their back yard.  It had filled out beautifully and grown about six more feet.

I’ve always felt glad that we ignored my father’s ‘waste of time and money’ objections and got the tree.  Even though my father has been gone for several years, and he and my step-mother had divorced many years before that, I wonder about that tree every Christmas.  It must be fairly majestic by now, if it’s still there.

Maybe I’ll get a potted Norfolk pine for my Christmas tree next year, although I’m not sure it would take well in our frigid climes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Trimmed Tree Pictorial Tale

It felt very odd to not decorate my Christmas tree with my son, but I didn’t want to leave it bare for two weeks.  I decided to put the tree in the corner by my bookcases, and I’m enjoying having one this year, even though I think I’m a bit allergic to it.

My lack of skill with a camera made this a kind of cool picture where the light trails remind me of Santa’s reindeer, flying through the air:

Christmas trees look so much better in the dark!

When I was four or five, until I was nine or so, I’d shimmy under the Christmas tree every year, looking up through the branches with un-focused eyes until the lights resembled something like this:

Almost every ornament holds a special memory, or marks stages of my adult life.  My first serious boyfriend and I bought frosted glass bulbs for our first Christmas together.  He got half of them when we broke up seven years later.  I doubt he kept his, but I’m glad I still have mine.

My son made a few ornaments during his grammar school years that bring back those Christmases to me when I hang them up.  A hardened dough, glazed, and painted bone he made in his sixth grade class, (the year my mother got a beagle from the animal shelter, and the dog was on my son’s mind when he created the ornament), and a variety of others from my son’s first Christmas, to this year’s ornament that the folks at the tree farm gave to everyone buying a tree, commemorating the volunteers who helped with clean up and salvage after Hurricane Irene’s flood devastation this past August.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Getting In The Spirit

I bought a Christmas tree today.

I didn’t have one last year, and the holidays are usually depressing and far too filled with expectation and anxiety for me to enjoy them.  I’d rather keep to myself this time of year.  I don’t like holiday gatherings or Christmas parties much, and I suppose I dissociate for the month of December, and often into January.  Trying to keep away from alcohol is harder this time of year too.  Most of my friends drink, and none of them abuse it, so they don’t really know what it’s like for me.  I’m at that place with drinking alcohol that I can either control it or enjoy it, but I can’t do both.

I am not as anxious this year as I have been previously, but I’ve been careful to not make many plans so I don’t have to pretend to enjoy myself or others.  My family gets together for a holiday dinner and then we exchange gifts, and that’s pretty much all I can handle.  Well, that, and having my son with me for his winter break.  Christmas isn’t as fun as it used to be when he was little, but I really like having a pretty tree all lit up, and getting cozy on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa and watching, It’s A Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Carol, on Christmas Eve, and of course, how could I let Christmas go by without watching, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and, A Charlie Brown Christmas?

When I was in college, one of the girls in my dorm phoned her father the night, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, was playing, and he stayed on the phone for the whole show.  She told us that she had gone on vacation over Christmas during High School one year, and her father had phoned her so they could still watch the show together.  That made such a big impression on me, and made me wish I had a father like that, and probably made all the girls in our dorm who were there with us that night wish that too.

Even though there are aspects of the season that I can enjoy, I’m happiest when it’s all over.  My true celebration is the Winter Solstice; there is no one who appreciates the return of the light more than I do.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.