Monday, December 24, 2007

A Time to Cry, A Time to Rejoice

Christmas can be an awfully lousy time for those of us with mood swings, particularly if we're alone, have had a bad year, lost someone close to us, or we're just plain not controlled on meds.

I had a horrible Christmas last year. Alone on Christmas and New Year's Eves. Continuously in tears, wondering why I couldn't seem to find anyone to share the season with. My friends all had significant others and were busy with them. My kids, ditto. So I was left alone to stare at the TV and wonder why I was even bothering to stay alive.

It seemed such a waste of everyone's time, especially mine.

And then, on New Year's Eve, I sat spinning some yarn, my usual meditative activity. The moods were unstable, to say the least. However, I managed to regain some equilibrium from the rhythmic motion of the wheel. And suddenly, the joy erupted in my soul. No, it wasn't a manic swing. It was the realization that my higher power had given me skilled hands with which to work and give myself pleasure. That I was alive, I could have hope again, and that I was strong enough to overcome whatever blew my way.

After that, I felt comfortable in my skin. I focused on spinning and the overt sadness went away. Focus is everything, especially focus away from self. Too much is not good, as is too little. Balance is everything.

This year, as I was driving home to East Stroudsburg to get some shopping done, I found myself once again meditating, this time in the car. I had some wonderful Christmas music on, music that reminded me of my childhood growing up in a German family, with all the tradition. And how much I loved Christmas then...and now. I saw the face of my Grandma, laughing and carrying presents into our house. Grandpa, with his little smile, eating a piece of crumbcake and letting me pick off the crumbs. My brother, playing with his new Mattel Ack-Ack gun, which he guarded with his life. Oma and Opa and Aunt Helga, coming with bags and bags of toys from FAO Schwarz. Dad cooking the traditional goose on Christmas Eve and then reading Dickens's A Christmas Carol to us.

And then, I saw the smiling, excited faces of my girls when they were little, jumping up and down, begging to open presents while their father dawdled in the bathroom.

So many memories. So many people in my life gone--Grandma, Grandpa, Oma, Opa, Helga, Daddy, my husband. And countless people who made an impact on my life and are now wisps of memory.

I cried a little tear or two for the ones I remember. And smiled a big smile. Because no matter how hard my life has been, there has always been remarkable people surrounding me, then and especially now.

May you have a peaceful Christmas.


knitty_kat said...

This was a lovely post. I have many moments that I wonder why I am alive. I try to find the small things that I enjoy and to find that bright spot. I also find both of your blogs an excellent distraction.

Merry Christmas - I hope it was everything it should be.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Marilyn, for bringing back Swing Time.

Do me a favor? Could you link to this blog from the Knitting Curmudgeon?