Monday, December 21, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas

Yesterday I spoke on the phone with someone close to me about the subject of Christmas. After hanging up, I came to a realization that this person didn't really know me anymore. And truthfully I guess I'm not "me" anymore, at least the old "me" of just last year.

For my entire life as an adult, Christmas has been a stressful time of unrealized expectations. I think many people can identify with this. The advertising onslaught from even before Thanksgiving on tends to urge us all toward excess. The children are encouraged by the ads to want more and more. And parents try to give it to them in order to make their Christmas " the best ever". We get caught up in the fever.

Each year, after I had kids, I would run all over the place trying to get the "best" of everything; get all the items on their "lists". Because you "have to" fulfill the list to make it the "best Christmas ever". And every year, there would be so much unhappiness; even when I could get every last item on the list. So much frustration and sadness every year. I never received a gift from any of my spouses that was heartfelt or demonstrated any knowledge of me as a person, or fulfilled the promises made on the television by all the romantic Christmas jewelry ads! So I am guilty of falling into the trap as well. I will own that. I hated the holidays every year; the past few I have been so depressed that I just barely got through.

I have, outside of my daughter ( and formerly, my husband), absolutely no family. My parents divorced when I was nine as my mother wanted a different life than the one that she had. And she got it, for us kids as well; pretty much both sides of our family abandoned us. No Rockwell family Christmases for us!My mother died from alcoholism when I was 18; she was in her early forties, in the early part of December, 1980.My father, who was much older, passed away a few years later. My son, who passed away in 2001, was born just a couple of weeks later; December 28. My daughter was born, as many of you know, December 24th,1978. So there is much sadness at this time. Also some joy. Even though my daughter hates her birthday, I still think it is perfect.
So there is a basis for my issues I guess. After the events of this summer, I was not holding out much hope for anything different, actually I figured it would be much worse. I live alone with my dogs. So why bother with it?


This year I am finally coming into my own being. I have had much time to think about who I am and what I think and feel. So here it is. I learned that I can and have CHOSEN my own family in addition to my daughter and my fur kids; Rikki and Sue, Sonny, Karen,Adam and Sam and all their fur kids, Rebecca and her fur kids,Jennifer and Jerry and their daughters and fur kids, Karen C ,the "puppy lady"and her fur kids. Renee and her fur kid,AND, all my bloggy friends and their fur kids that have sent me love and kindnesses all through this year. I even found old school friends on Facebook that have really made my life better!

I have learned that I am happy with my little house and my doggies. I miss Niles so very much, but I will try to honor him by the way I live the rest of my life. He will always be my canine soul mate. I decorated this year the way I could and didn't stress out over being unable to go out and buy more. I have been far more aware of my own gratitude in the silences of my home. I have had to learn how to do more with a whole lot less, and no predictability of what will come. I could not go out and buy anything really, for anyone, other than the few items I have picked over time for the fur kids. But in my heart, I feel at peace.

I know now that I cannot buy happiness. Don't get me wrong, I love to decorate and love to find goodies for my home. But I also know that things will never give me love or happiness. I have found that within my heart. Even though things are bad right now, I am calm, and I am happy. I am strong. I am living more simply,

Christmas has lost its meaning here in this country. I will tell you what Christmas is to me now. It is having a home ( no matter how small,large, fancy or plain) to share with friends and family, food to feed the hunger, joy in the little things; like someone making you a gift from their heart (Sonny!) and the knowledge that there are people in the world that really love you and care for you that would never hurt you, no matter what. But this is not just for one month of the year; this is my whole year. I have so much; I have Christmas in my heart all year.

Last night I stopped at our local McDonald's. The drive thru girl saw Sparkle all done up and said to me " You are really all about Christmas aren't you?" And I answered "yes, I am" without even thinking about my answer. And then it dawned on me, I AM REALLY ALL ABOUT CHRISTMAS! All year long!!!! It isn't what we buy, it is what we give. Our hearts and our real love. That is it. Love. And I give it to those I love freely; even when they are not perfect, I still love them.

All my love to all of you who have made me the person I am today. Thanks to you every one.


big city prims said...

You sound so much more at peace, and so much happier. So glad to see that! Give those doggies a big smootch from me, and enjoy the holiday however it makes YOU happy and content. ~Terry

Sandy said...

I am so happy to see you back blogging and to see that you seem more at piece.

Merry Christmas to you and furry children :)


Kath ~★The Olde Weeping Cedar ★~ said...

"Peace is not a season it's a way of life" :) One of my favorite quotes!
I am happy you found 'your peace, Merrie!!
May you have a Blessed Christmas and may this peace follow ya right into and throughout the new year!!

Merry Christmas!

...and thanks so much for visiting me and for the b-day wishes!

Holly Hills Primitives said...

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all year through! Dawn

carolyn@primitive~devotion said...

Merrie, you are so right! I am so happy for you that you have found some peace and are happy.
Everytime I read about how you lost your parents and you son, and other sad times, my heart breaks for you. I can identify with some of those things too.
I too, am a changed person and have been striving for the simple way of life for awhile now. Sometimes the rest of the world won't let me have any peace, but I try.
I think you were given the perfect name when you were born. A Christmas name too! MERRIE! You are living up to your name, sweet lady! May you ALWAYS have things to be merry about!
Merry Christmas, and may that feeling live in your heart for always.

Nezzy said...

Peace and happiness come from within, not from the presents all wrapped up under the tree. I am so happy you have found your Christmas all year through. Those who look to the world for peace will never find it. Have a merry Christmas surrounded by those you hold near and dear to your heart. Nothing says love like giving of yourself. You have blessed my life!

God bless you sweet lady!

Shari Kraft said...

I am so proud of you sweetie. Christmas is love...plain and simple, and you are surrounded by it. I wish I could be there to personally give you a Christmas hug! BTW...we got Jake a little sister! Her name is Maggie. I'll send you a Christmas pic of them later.

The Old Cupboard Door said...

Merrie, you have one of the best Christmas posts I have read, and I've read a lot of them! It is a wonderful reminder that it is not about how much we spend or the material things we give. Thanks so much.

My Country Baby Murphy