I didn’t write on this blog over the holidays because of two reasons.
1. I wanted a real vacation from writing and being stuck in my head.
2. is complicated and is the reason for this post.
I love Christmas songs/carols. They always brighten the festive feel of the time of year and help when stress tries to worm its way into my brain and take precedence. But this past Christmas something was different. Beginning near the end of November I realized that the songs weren’t hitting the mark they way they usually did for me. This time the songs weren’t working, especially when I heard John Lennon’s “And So This is Christmas.” Usually I love this song, I know all the words, I always sing along and imagine that we really don’t WANT war anymore. But every time I heard it this past season I just got mad. I couldn’t understand why, at first. Why I wasn’t rejoicing in the season—and remember, this was before the Newtown tragedy (which only made me feel worse)—until I thought about what those songs/carols were about.
Why do we play these songs on the radio when we so clearly aren’t striving for these kinds of tragedies “to be over?” War still marches on, all over our planet in all kinds of guises. People still kill one another for whatever reason they believe is justifiable. Religion seems to be part of the problem (think “holy wars or crusades” and “If you’re not with us, you’re against us”), but not all of it. No, to over simplify (maybe, but it IS a HUGE reason), Greed is the reason. Greed to have whatever it is “us”/“they” think we/they need/want/deserve.
I felt the tragedy of broken dreams in this past holiday more clearly than the joy: the hypocrisy of it, the lie of it, the lip service that we won’t put action to.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved spending time with my family and loved ones. That is always a blessing to me no matter what. But this season I became aware of how lucky I was to have the money to drive to see them, buy them presents, and drink to their health and longevity. How lucky I am to have a life that is good and, in these days, plentiful in the sense that I’m not living in a war zone or starving, or enduring a horrible tragedy. To this day I grieve for those who lost a part or parts of themselves in Newtown. I know they will grieve forever. Christmas will never be the same for them again. For me either, but in a different way. My head is out of the preverbal sand. I can’t pretend anymore when I hear Christmas songs that next year everyone might “see the light.” I’m sorry to have lost my “innocent” wonder of, and joy in, those lovely songs and carols, and their meanings, but I’m even sorrier for the reasons behind that loss.
Am I depressed about this? Yes and no. I still have my life to live, as do we all. My resolution then, for 2013, is not about losing weight or being a better person or getting another book published (well those are in there too). But those resolutions now come after my first goal, which is to remember “More is not always Better,” and to be compassionate, to judge less and to help those in need around me, to send what I can to charities I know do the good works that John Lennon sings about in his song, and to remember that “my world” is not the only “world” on this planet. I need to remember, we ALL need to remember that others lives and customs are different from ours and we shouldn’t make decisions for them without knowing what those lives and customs are. In other words, “Judge not another person until you walk a mile in their shoes.” Maybe by December of this year I’ll listen to my favorite Christmas songs and carols and once again feel their magic. Maybe, but I’m not going to hold my breath.