Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas spirit

Depression is as much a part of the holiday season as Santa, Christmas trees and cookies. In some ways, it helps me to know this. As so many of my friends have lovingly reminded me, I'm not alone. Depression isolates people. It makes them feel disconnected from the world around them, and in knowing that others are as lost in the fog as I've been, I am less alone. It's a grim comfort, but it is a comfort. I wish that this didn't happen to anybody, but hiding it makes it worse.

The forced joviality of the holiday season makes it worse. You're supposed to be happy, damn it! This is the season of joy and goodwill, and if you're just not getting it, there's something seriously wrong with you. Of course, this is as big a pile of manure as anything else.

Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus. In a world decorated with glitter and lights, prettily wrapped packages and huge amounts of food, the details are easy to forget. A young, unmarried woman becomes pregnant in a time when this is a shame, an offense that could even merit death. Her fiance could have dumped her, but both chose to believe that this truly was miraculous, a divine gift. Other than her cousins, Elizabeth and Zechariah, I wonder what other people in her community were saying about her. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Joseph's friends, thinking he was going to marry a girl carrying somebody else's baby? My mind goes next to the travel they had to take. I could barely stand to ride in a car when I was nine months pregnant. Every bump in the road meant my whole body hurt. I can't even imagine walking or riding an animal for any distance then. Fun is the last word that comes to mind. When I was in labor, I was in a sanitized birthing room that had been beautifully decorated and appointed for my health and comfort. Mary gave birth among animals in a confined space, their food, their bedding, their waste products surrounding her. Again, not my idea of fun. I hate waking up and finding a dirty litter box rooms away from my bed.

None of this is original, but it helps me to remember that great joy can come to the ugliest, lowest and darkest of places. When I try to put an image onto our Creator, I often find that I can't. God/dess is everywhere, in trees and rocks and people, in the oceans and the pouring rain, in quiet hours and laughter, an omnipresent, unlimitable spirit. I can't imagine giving that up and accepting the limits of being human. I know that it would take a love more tremendous than I can grasp, stepping in to experience the life of another being. That honestly makes me tremble.

Yesterday in church, our preacher spoke about how angels in the Bible always begin speaking by saying, "Do not be afraid." What he pointed out and I had never thought of was that I always assumed that the angels were saying, "Don't be afraid of me." What if the message is simply don't be afraid? We live in a world of hurt, struggles and disappointments, and we also live in a world of beauty, kindness and hope. The latter is often difficult to find, and I do despair. I do fear, and people love me enough to remind me to not fear and love myself.

Our world has always been painful. Sorrows have always existed, but hope can and does come.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

It seems to be up to us--those of us who question and hurt and write about it--to point to the pain, but also to the joy. It can be an awesome responsibility, but also a rewarding one.

December 19, 2005 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sorrows have always existed, but hope can and does come."

Yep. It can, it does, and it will. ;)


December 19, 2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Solitary Dancer said...

This is a hurtful and painful world we live in. Finding the beauty is sometimes very hard. But, when you least expect it there it is. Some tiny piece of this world will catch your eye and its beauty and hope will fill your soul.

December 19, 2005 12:36 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

But after do not be afraid they said ....Do not be afraid. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

December 19, 2005 5:11 PM  
Blogger kas said...

I think some days are harder than others for me in this world...but mostly I think that I try to keep a positive attitude and spirit. I think having children around has helped me with that because I want my children to grow up being encouraged and it's tough to do that if I'm depressed. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

December 19, 2005 5:21 PM  
Blogger Gabreael said...

It is how we handle those darkest days in our life that shows who we truly are. It is also those times we learn the most.


December 19, 2005 9:34 PM  

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