I've become deeply, profoundly discouraged by the Christmas Wars, and by people who in essence take the Lord's name in vain when they decorate, shop, bake...not because they want to spread a bit of Christian cheer but because they are counting the coming loot.
Take my roommate's fiancee. Please! :) Sorry, couldn't resist...
Seriously, she seriously calls Christmas "The Evil Season" and she means it. But she doesn't decline to present everyone with a long and pricey list of what would please her this year. She doesn't fail to remind of her up-coming February birthday, either.
Honest, I'm not singling her out, she is typical of very nearly everyone I have come across these past 7 years. These souls anticipate the holidays with undisguised greed, and make anyone who prefers not to gift such a hypocrite out to be the quintessential Grinch.
They march by the Salvation Army kettle and bell ringer with eyes defiantly averted, as if making a point of their churlishness, and this year I actually heard someone justify the behaviour by saying it would just go to Katrina survivors, and they are getting too much already. The diatribe against Katrina survivors went on, no doubt, long after I hurried past them into the grocery store. When I came out I made sure to drop my little bit in. I told the guy I wished it could be more, and he told me in all earnestness that I already had done something pretty great. I started crying as I tried to get the car open and deposit my little bag of frozen 'meat' patties on the passenger seat.
During the horrific years that I was Crusty's prisoner I tried to do something to help people at that worst point in their lives, who needed to know that out there in the world are people who care.
I would take my time and choose an angel from the Angel Tree, in better years I would chose a boy and a girl. I always picked the kids who wanted warm clothes or books, leaving the kids who wanted Play Stations and BMX bikes for the better heeled 'Secret Santas', and I always put in some neat toy that would not need batteries-hard to come by when the choice is food or batteries...
Crusty was always-ALWAYS-furious, and punished me by never, in all of the years we were together, getting me so much as an orange for my stocking. Every damn Christmas he would look at the hurt on my face at the flat stocking, and the giftless under tree, and say sanctimoniously, "It's the thought that counts."
Yes, it is. He never thought of us unless it was to add to the pain he was using to brutalize our hearts with, mine and Fox's.
That first Christmas after he left was at once awful and wonderful. I really felt as though something wonderful was just around the corner-I would hear a knock, and open the door to a healing and joyous new life. I decorated the house with all of the things I had collected through the years that he had hated, OH! The house looked beautiful!
Unable to string the mini-lights on the tree, I spent money I should have spent on food for some clip on lights that looked just like candles. I bought a small box of frosted and glittered glass, a real departure for me since for years I had decorated with folk art things. Crusty favoured shiny red bulbs, exclusively, on fake trees-preferably aluminum or white plastic-gag.
By Christmas night that year of 1998, I knew I was in trouble.
I kept trying through Christmas of 2003, then I gave up. In '04 I put up a very few things, this year I have none of my Christmas decorations with me except the tree skirt and a few strands of lights.
I gave up because slowly I realized no-one cared, and I am not talking about the stupid decorations.
And I am not talking about how deeply it hurt that no-one cared for me personally-I'm unfortunately used to that.
I'm talking about how savage people are to one another these days.
Well, I am at that worst point in my life, that point that comes to some of us at one time or another, the point where I have come to believe no-one gives a fig about me, and that despite God's promise, I will never have that home, filled with people who love me and are glad I breathe. Not because I will get them something for Christmas, but because I keep it so well, because I love so much, and want to make people feel safe and loved.
How passe, how gauche, even my son likes to make me feel to think love is the reason we get the day off this year.
Oh God, God, I want to go home, but I haven't any because Crusty used his gift of free will to make Fox and me homeless...