Anyway, the book is on forgiveness. It's very good. I won't talk about it specifically, because that would not be fair to the author. But I am sitting here on Christmas eve and reading it is making me think of my approach to life in general.
The theme of unforgiveness is a popular one these days. I always find the forgiveness part of Christianity - as I have no doubt indicate here before - rather confusing. I just don't get what it is. Yes, I just wrote that. The author quotes a dictionary definition, and that helped me. One of the definitions the dictionary supplies is about cancelling money owed. That makes sense, so I can work outward from there. I owe someone a punch in the face for A, B and C. Okay, don't punch them; forget about what they did; work on willing good for them; do good for them. I get that.
But what I want to talk about here, rather briefly because I am supposed to be working on that book, is my attitude toward Christmas. I don't care for it. Yes, I wrote that. I only care about Christmas because my kids do. I feel like Dexter Morgan, title character of the show, Dexter, who, because he was a sociopath, went through life imitating the emotional reactions of others to things, because he didn't have them himself. I don't care about Christmas. I care about my kids and want them to have happy memories about it. Otherwise, I'd just go to mass and try and think about the manger and then go and drink eggnog by myself in a dark room.
I complained to Anne-Marie the other day that I have become a "glass half-empty person" and I hate it. My life has been hard, money-wise, as you know, and that effects a man on every level. But going through life only thinking about what is lacking is a horrible thing. I give my experience of Christmas as example. I don't celebrate it; I do it; I endure it; mostly, I can't wait until it is over so I can go back to existing and avoiding.
Why is this? Well, I refer you back to the unforgiveness book. Unforgiveness is one way we ruin our lives. Do I not like Christmas because I resent my parents? Because I had bad experiences with girls? Because I got the flu that one time? Or because... I don't like myself because I had asthma as a kid and thus did not do as well at sports as I would have liked?
How do you even begin to answer the question of why?
All I know is that I do not believe that one should go through life like I go through Christmas, and weekends, and parties, and vacations, and birthdays, and everything else. Why do some people get to enjoy life, to take it on its own, while I don't? I know a part of this is simply my depressive nature, and that is a chemical thing, but that's not all. I also know that we grew up with a sort of weird puritanism (Jansenism) under my father's influence, where we thought it was manly to not enjoy things and to spend money and to show affection and other effluent emotional displays.
Why was my dad like this? My mom says because his dad died when he was only 17. Maybe that is so; maybe it is only a partial explanation.
|Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile.|
The point is, I do not not like Christmas because there is something wrong with Christmas or being celebratory, or that it is too materialistic, etc. I don't enjoy it because there is something wrong with me.
Forgiveness? Well, why don't you pray for me that I will listen to God enough so that next year I will be as happy and gay as my children are on December 24/25.
Cynicism is not wisdom or temperance.