is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Well, I've decked the halls. Now what?

I have had all kinds of Holidays.  Good ones, like when all my 3 brothers and 3 sisters and Mom and Dad -- would pile in the station wagon and ride all the way from Cincinnati to Miami for a week with Mom's mother, Grandma Burns.   Grandma had moved there from Hazard in the early 1950s, and accordingly, we became regular Miami-goers, which now that I think back about it, was a pretty cool adventure.  

We would go to the Orange Bowl parade, saw famous people like Gilda Radner on a float.  Our favorite relative, Aunt Muriel told us how she let iguanas in her house so they'd eat the water bugs, and Grandma had made headlines in the Miami-Herald when she loaded her rifle and followed an avocado thief to his home to demand he returned his stolen booty to her yard.  Nobody had to get stitches, no sun poisoning, we even went back to Viscaya to see how it originally had looked, i.e., the heads had been put back on statues.  We also went to the little beach zoo and the lion peed all over the crowd watching.  Now see?  THAT's the makings of a good holiday. 

We had some bad Holidays, too, of course.  Sure, there was the occasional mishap that would almost qualify as a deal-breaker, but eventually the story would become the lore of Thanksgivings past:  for example, the time when my brother-in-law put the rolls in the oven (at my Pop's request), and then he politely locked them in on one the oven's 'self clean' cycle.  We all gathered around the oven and watched in hilarious horror as the rolls ignited and burnt themselves into tiny lumps of ash.  Ahh, that's just too funny, even though that could have been a bad Holiday, it doesn't qualify as a bad holiday unless 911 has to be dialed.  For everything else, I figure we survived it, and we're bound to survive a few more.  Right?

This year?  The overriding thought of mine this year during the Holiday season is that I miss my family.  I miss my parents, my sister, my brother who have left this Life.  The past year was hard on me physically and emotionally, and after losing brother Marshall in February, I have been in a state of shock.  Shock can be a wonderful thing, but it masks other stuff that I eventually have to deal with before I can move on with my life.  And sometimes it lingers much too much.

Is it that I have to realize that ideal Christmases are made only in a little girl's imagination?  Imagine as I may how wondrous the lights and trees and cards and e-jokes are, or how creatively generous folks can be, I still have sad moments and just want to say, "Meh.  Humbug."  I tried to keep my spirits high, watched It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, the History channel's version of the birth of Christ, the George C. Scott rendition of  A Christmas Carol, I shopped at only local establishments, I gathered my friends who wanted to go caroling (only one person really wanted to go but it was a last minute thing), I gave to every kettle bellringer at every store, played Blue Christmas and other holiday favorites at my Tuesday uke gig -- I put my heart and soul into all of those preparations and still, I was not in the Christmas Spirit as the 25th approached.  

Like the Star in the East, a light shone upon me last week in a pleasantly unexpected blog featuring me and a girl chat with Donna Ison, a/k/a the Bourbonista. 

 -- clicky click the link if you want to read Donna's spicy banter with me.  

Of course none of that has anything to do with the reason for the season.  The real message behind Jesus' coming is that your sins and my sins are covered and 'warfare now is over.'  Seems so simple, but we know warfare still continues.  The candle of Peace is the most difficult to light, and we are sad for those in war-torn countries and we are prayerful for our military members, that they may come home soon. 

Most of my hard candy Christmas has to do with bad health after the bus accident of September, financial distress after being laid off in July, and grief as I was forced to move from my apartment of 5 years this past month, not because I had no money to pay rent, but because of governmental red tape that prevented me from receiving income on time to pay rent.  I do have 3 part time jobs, and I love all of them, but they don't pay the rent.  To make a long story even longer, I got sick in early November, lost my voice, and worsened day by day until I could no longer sing with my choir, fought a fever for weeks, and somehow survived all that and with the help of friends, moved in with my buddy who is subletting her attic apartment to me.  Tonight, here I yam, I have arrived at my old and huge PC, just in time to post a blog about what is on my mind.  My mind says, "meh."  

My pic taken on 12.12.12 at 12:12 made it to Ace Weekly!
I am not a "meh" kinda girl, am I? Coz I want to always be excited about something, exuberant in the wonderfulness of life, refreshing company, sparkling conversationalist, enthusiastic uke-evangelist ... that's what I want to always be, but I've been sick and saddened over the deaths of my brother and my best friend Mayme.  I've also had a weird struggle with some sort of form of the devil, whatever you want to call the evil that we encounter, and that battle has left me more fragile than I ever could have featured.  My heart started bothering me -- the doctors are using words like stent and pacemaker and I have had no energy to pack, to move, to do much of anything.  

For my friends who reached out and helped me, I am truly grateful; for my lambchops who always keep tabs on me and send me reassuring messages, I am truly grateful, but most of all, I am grateful for the privilege of experiencing the joy of Christmas when I was a child.  Not every kid gets that chance.  

Thank ya, Pearl and Marsh.  

Thank ya, Baby Jesus!

Here's a prayer we shared in the Christmas Eve service.  I hope you enjoy:

Joy and fear join hands this night.
Hope and despair are well known to us.
But we have heard the news - Christ is born!
And after weeks of waiting and watching, 
we are ready to celebrate!
We are ready to worship the Holy Child.
We ar ready to welcome Christ into our hearts.

People of God, your waiting in darkness is over.
The Light of God's promise has dawned.
Even now Christ the Child, Christ the Savior,
seeks entrance into our hearts.

Love and Peace,

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