JOYful holidays

This picture perfectly illustrates how I have felt about the holidays for, oh, about the last 20 years.  I saw this image on Pinterest the other day and I laughed out loud because it is funny, but then I started to think about how much I related to the picture.

I grew up in Christmas tree farm country.  Lots of people make their living growing and selling Christmas trees, so they are not just a tradition that brighten and decorate the house once a year, they are a source of income and security for lots of families.

I dated and lived with a Christmas tree grower for many years during my 20s, so I was a “Christmas tree widow” for 10 years.  And you really do lose your loved one to the fields during the harvest season — only about 6 weeks to make the income for the whole 52 weeks of the year.  The pressure is high and the work days are long.

And in the end, you get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  They weren’t quite as bad as the one pictured to the left, but we always got the left over, culled trees.  The good trees were sold, not saved for the house.

These years began my disenchantment with the holidays.    Even after the Christmas tree grower and I finally split the Christmas tree ornaments for good, I had little joy in the Christmas season.

I would turn the radio station when Christmas carols came on;  I stopped getting a Christmas tree; I hated shopping for Christmas presents because of the crowds.  The only thing that I liked about Christmas was the reason behind it:  Jesus’s birth.

This year, however, ring the bells!  Ding dong!  The witch is dead.  Or, sticking with the theme, Scrooge has seen all three ghosts and converted.  I am actually enjoying this holiday season.  I enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree.  I even put lights on a tree outside!  Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart and found myself dancing in the aisles to the cheery Christmas music on the speakers.  I realized what I was doing when I noticed that one little boy kept standing at the end of whatever aisle I was in, watching me.  Once I realized what he was doing, I put some extra wiggle and kick into each aisle.  I figured the kid should get rewarded (or punished depending on his point of view) for stalking me in Wal-Mart.

The difference in this year and past years — this year I’m not depressed.  That bitch disease has been stealing Christmas from me — depression is The Grinch!

I’ve gotten my Christmas present early this year — I’m dancing in the aisles again (literally).  I hope your presents are as awesome as mine has been.

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See..

One of my favorite hymns is “Amazing Grace”.  I love the lyrics.  There is the simplicity in the message that grace is at the root of all that I have been given, but also profoundness in that grace is “sweet” like a sound, can bring me fear, but also calm my fears, and grace can “lead me home.”  And one of my favorite lines in the song is in the first stanza “…was blind, but now I see.”

I can’t imagine being blind, but whenever I sing this line or listen to it sung, I always think about the wonder and amazement someone would have to feelfrom going from darkness to light.  What are the emotions that would tumble over themselves as the world went from this

https://encrypted-tbn1.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT3ybVc8gQEySR7Q5iW787a90uzLSjJ5e0ThfsxnHy0KXl63Uy9uQ
to this:
http://www.zimfamilycockers.com/CarnivalSpirit-Sunrise2.jpg
I think that I would feel like I was a different person, living in a different world.


I while I haven’t literally had my eyesight restored, I feel like I am now a seeing person, where I was once stumbling around blind.


I am not in the depths of depression.


Over the last four months, I have been pulling, clawing, scrabbling, hauling myself out of a pit so deep, black was all I could see.  And for the last two of the four months, life has been different — brighter, lighter, freer — dare I say, more fun?

This disease with which I live is a monster, a lying, cold-hearted, selfish disease that has demanded all my energy and attention for many years of my life.  I’m not sure when I first knew that I suffered from depression, but I don’t ever remember not being plagued by some of the symptoms of depression, even as a little girl in elementary school.  My ability to manage it and live “depression-free” has varied through the years.  And my ego has played a role in self-delusion that “I have it under control.”

The last thing that I had under control during the past three years was my depression.  It was firmly in control–but nobody had yet admitted it.  So, like a puppet regime, I went through the days like I was in charge, maybe fooling no one but myself.  Maybe fooling everyone.  Only those close to me can answer if they were more aware of my condition than I was.

And that is one of the scary, lying, dangerous games that depression plays with you — it’s those mind games she pulls on her victims all the time.  One minute you KNOW you are on top of your game; the next minute, you’re questioning if you’re competent enough to place your own order at McDonald’s.

But this blog isn’t about reliving the deep valleys that were landscape of my illness, but to recognize and celebrate the joy that I CAN and DO feel now.  The happy moments that I CAN and DO appreciate daily.  The accomplishments that I CAN and DO take pride in and feel worthy of.

My God has a salvation plan for me that extends beyond this life.  I believe this.  My God has also given me a wonderful gift during this life, however, to feel the awesomeness (I just can’t think of a better word) of feeling blind, but finding sight.