Comforting Words: Blue What?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blue What?


My head is pounding. Sleep has not been an option for me two nights now.

No, I have not been out shopping all night at the 24-hours stores, albeit that is exciting developments in Edmonton, Alberta.

Just five years ago that would be unheard of – stores opening beyond 9:00 p.m., but Walmart has started a trend this Christmas and many retailers have followed along.

Which leads me to the question – the perennial question – how many people really care about the traditions of Christmas? Does it really matter anymore that this is a religious holiday season – marking the birth of a man who by his living transformed what was the then traditional practice of religion?

Some people actually hate the season – not because of the consumerism that has captured its spirit but because of the memories and reminders that it holds for them. Elvis Prestley, I believe it was him, describes their sentiment with his song “Blue Christmas,” or whatever the title.

A year ago, I knew and shared their feelings.

It was a first time experience for me as Christmas has always been “the most wonderful time of the year,” even when my mother was baking tin ham (go figure) because she could not afford to buy the picnic ham. All my conscious life, until my 41st year, Christmas was a time that I eagerly anticipated. It was when I had freedom in my mother’s kitchen to practice my culinary skills – to varying degrees of success.

Christmas 2006 was a different story. I wrote a very baleful post back then, one that rivaled Elvis’ or any other crooner’s most sorrow-filled Christmas song.

Who was it that said, “The only constant is change?” Whoever made such an insightful statement should be awarded a prize!

They were? It was well deserved then - as I am here to say that that observation is absolutely true. I have been into testifying lately – not that I have not become a Pentecostal or something of the sort – but I strongly believe that stories that witness to the goodness in and of life ought to be shared.

Change is the only constant. That can and is a frightening thought for many. It certainly was one for me last year – to the point that I did not want to have another – thought that is.

Over an early supper today, I told my woman-friend Anni that the words her late mother wrote on a piece of paper we found in her apartment came to me today as I reflected on this week last year.

Anni’s mother had written, in short, and I had copied in one of my 2006 journals - “I have come to learn that it is not time but love that heals.” The full meaning of those words came home to me today as I reflected on this week last year.

Just a side note here – it has served me well to journal and later re-read my journals. This helps me to see the recurring themes and patterns, see where situations that “were meant for evil, God meant for good,” have played out in my experience and to get back on track or re-focus my energies on “what matters.”

So what has changed this week? What is different this year from last? And, equally important, how has Love been healing my life?

Approaching Christmas 2007, I can gratefully report that:
 My beautiful daughter and I (her equally beautiful mother) were sworn in as Canadian citizens on December 18. This after a mysterious (and probably mischievous) delay, which, along with other secrets, I was able to uncover after several phone calls and clicks of buttons.

 After many arguments, frustration and consternation, my daughter Abigail has this month completed her Diploma and, even better, was hired on the 9th day of her practicum by the hospital where she was placed!

 I am healthy, growing from strength to strength each day. Psychologically I am free from the pills that although they helped me to regain my perspective, somewhat diminished my intellectual capacity. Today, after two sleepless nights of studying laws, policies, and regulations, I sat a knowledge test that, if I am successful at the other two stages of the process, will see me moving into a position of greater responsibility, with more challenges and intensity. Whether this happens is not the main issue however. What is more important is the fact that I am ready to take back my intellectual power, finish my thesis/paper for my second Master’s degree and get my life back on the academic track that I had mapped out since I was 10 years old – which is the attainment of my Doctorate.

 Spiritually, while I continue to be supported by my amazingly wonderful Spiritual Director (God bless her) – I have also found a new church home, still within the United Church of Canada. Additionally, my social justice work continues within this Church and I was recently informed of my appointment to serve for three years on a task group basically on interculturalism within that organization. This is along with my assuming the chairmanship in 2008 of an organization that serves black peoples.

 I now have a vote!! That was the most exciting thing for me about becoming a Canadian citizen my ability to exercise my franchise in the next election. The larger intention is that some time in the near future, given that this is a free, democratic and inclusive country – as a woman of colour and openly of a different sexual orientation, with liberal spiritual beliefs and practices, I will be running for political office.

 Economically, although things can always be better – for the first time in my adult years I feel as if I am truly making it! I live alone – booted out the roommate months ago - and I love it. Actually, this will be topic of my next article in the DOF series “Single and Loving it!”

 Angello is still alive!

As the saying goes – “I am too blessed to be stressed,” – no blue Christmas for me. Yes, I will be sitting alone in the pew on Christmas Eve night. And yes, it will breakfast for one Christmas morning 2007 – but it will be ackee and saltfish with ham cuttings and fried dumplings, why would I want anything more?

I am alive, I am well and all is well! Thanks be to God! So, I wish you all, my friends and readers, a wonderful Christmas.

If for a moment you forget the true meaning of the season, the birth of the one who came to give life, then just remember the people I will be with on the evening of Christmas (yes, I volunteered to go to work), remember the homeless and remember those who, like me last year, feel so alone, afraid and abandoned and wished they were not alive.

Merry Christmas! You will hear from me before the New Year – that is a promise.

Blessings,


Claudette

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