What lovely cards to receive today! Upon drawing them I thought “Don’t let memories of the past get in the way of enjoying the present” This is especially appropriate for me at this time of year. Christmas has always been a rough time for me. As a child, Christmas often proved to be a stressful family holiday filled with fighting and bitterness. As an adult I carried the memories of those negative past holidays and they tainted the present. Then over the years I lost family and friends (many much too soon) and the holidays just reminded me of who was no longer with us anymore. It tends to put me in a nasty funk. Even decorating the house or putting up a tree made me cranky and tearful.
Over the years I’ve gotten a bit better about this but not much. Very often by the day after Christmas I want to tear down all the decorations and put away the tree, leaving no memories of the holiday to linger. Each yet I get more put off by the ridiculous and often dangerous antics of people seeking amazing discounts on Black Friday. The fact that so many people have no problem curtailing their Thanksgiving festivities to go shopping says a lot about our consumer culture and our familial relationships (at least that’s my opinion).
These two cards, one with an pale eerie ghost and the other with a soaring, kindly spirit, offer insight into some of my issues. The ghosts of Christmases Past lingers in the air like a stale cigar. Its vaporous influences may not be seen but they are felt. Their pale, ectoplasmic fingers wrap themselves around my heart and won’t give way. The only way to break free of these influences is to be aware of them and fight them. Instead of focusing on the sadness of missing loved ones I can focus on the fun and joy they gave when they lived. In some ways I suppose I dishonor their memories by letting them become a source of bitterness, sadness and unhappiness.
The North Wind can help me clear away all those cobwebs filled with sadness and sorrow and help me fill those spaces with light and laughter and joy. If I don’t allow myself to make newer, happier memories then how can I stave off the sadness? What happy memories will I have in the future? In truth, remembering only the sad or painful memories just deepens those wounds. If I want to heal I need to release them to time and replace them with joy-filled, laughter-filled new experiences that can be a bulwark against their ghostly pull.