Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Imposition of Joy

I'm afraid that this post will come off a bit hum-buggish, but it's something I think needs to be said.

Not everyone is having a 'Merry Christmas'. It's not because they have anything against the season, please understand, or that they wish any poor sentiments against those who are enjoying the season and its joy. But they have reasons to feel a bit differently, and in some cases do not want to be told how they should be feeling or act.

In my case, I admit to a certain grimness at present. While I am generally an optimist, the past year has done my family some damage. My father passed away in April, which is weighing my mother down at present as she has to go through the first Christmas without him. She also had about a thousand dollars worth of plumbing repairs which had to be done. My brother, three years older than me, has a badly-paying, no-chance-of-promotion job and is showing some hand tremors which may - long story - be the warning signs of long-feared Parkinson's disease. One of my sisters had to undergo surgery on her thyroid, and as soon as she recovers from that she is schedule to have spine surgery as well. And of course, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with cancer, a variant which has no known cure and while slow-growing, kills half of its victims within ten years of its first symptoms. I find myself distinctly less than bouyant this Christmas season.

I certainly am aware that other members here have their own trials and difficulties, and I do not mean, at all, for this to be a 'poor me' thread. But while I remain determined and hopeful in the main, and I still thank God for all the good things he has given me (I will never forget how lucky I am to have Mikki and Jagan in my life, nor my good friends) I am not in the mood - at all - to act as if I do not have a care in the world, or to perform on demand some pretense to jollity. When someone insists that I need to just 'be happy', I find myself inclined to find a shotgun and look for flying reindeer to shoot. Anyone resembling an elf would also do well to steer clear of me.

Enjoy your holidays as you please, and be as merry as you like, but please do not demand that people must act a certain way. Joy may not be imposed, and even now there are duties which may not be dismissed or put off, nor to my mind would it be seemly to forget them.


Mark L said...

What often gets lost in the modern Christmas is that the meaning of Christmas has less to do with a message of happiness than a message of hope. God's message at Christmas is hope. Christ's birth gives a promise of life enternal.

Happiness is not the same thing as hope. I think you know that D. J. Certainly you have more reasons this year than many to realize that.

Let me wish you a blessed Christmas this year, rather than a merry one.

Gayle Miller said...

DJ - I fully understand how you are feeling. Please know that you and your entire family are in my heart and in my prayers. And for me, as I have gotten older, Christmas has become much more about giving thanks for the birth of that baby in Bethlehem all those years ago and much, much less about presents.

But in strict honesty - it still IS about food. I'm no saint, doncha know!

In any event, have as happy a holiday as feels good to you and yours. And remember that people who have never, and will never, set eyes upon you, are nourished and entertained by what you do. And that is a whole lot more than a lot of other people can say. You make a difference.

smh10 said...


Honesty is always the best policy. You are honest with your readers and with yourself and whatever meaning you wish to place on this holiday is yours alone.

You will be kept in many prayers I am certain as will your family.

Thanks for being such a big part of our 2006..you do provide something to us that has become important in our daily routine and it is always done sincerely and from the heart.

Anonymous said...

It's not just Christmas. Once I was frowning, I suppose, and some store employee told me (ordered me, really) "Cheer up! It can't be that bad!"

Well it was.

I still wish I'd replied, because it might have saved the next person in severe emotional pain. But if I had it would have been a volcano.

I hope your holy days are meaningful and fulfilling, and as merry as possible.

God bless.

Kathy said...

My dad died 20 years ago on Dec 14. That was a tough Christmas. Firsts are. But it does get better - like Mark said - it's about hope. Back then a friend of mine told me it would get better, and of course I smiled, that's what we're supposed to do. I didn't believe her, but it turned out to be true. Pain has been supplanted with memories that are true treasures. I'm grateful that I had a Dad whose loss I still feel keenly. It was a great good fortune that he was with me for 29 years. It's probably too soon for you too feel that way, but you will, and it won't always hurt so much.

My prayers for you and your family this Christmas are for Peace and health - and joy - in small ways if not in big ones - perhaps through a favorite carol, a child's wonder, the story of the Christ child, or best wishes from a friend...

Thank you for the work that you do - and for the friendship you've given. Thank you for the courage you demonstrate in your writing, and for your eloquence and wisdom. Thank you for the joy you've given.

God Bless you and your family, DJ.