Turning the pages of a not so happy time of your life is one of the hardest things to do. If that is happening as we approach a celebratory period, the struggle is even greater.
Not Another Blue Christmas
Four years ago my life was in a different place. Almost exactly on this day, here is what I wrote:
Another year and, I am home in pain as I was nine years ago. This time, instead of my head pounding as it was then, it is my back. Sleep was problematic last night. Back in 2007, sleep was not an option for two nights in a row. With the season of gifting on the horizon, my plan to go Christmas shopping is on hold. If the pain eases, maybe it will be possible to go late this evening. Looking back to that year after my family and I arrived in Edmonton, Alberta, 24-hours stores were an exciting development.
This year, 2020, the year of COVID-19, it really matters not how many hours the stores are open. Many people will not be going instore shopping this year.
That is a perfect segue to the question – the perennial question. “How many people really still care about the traditions of Christmas?” Does it really matter anymore that this is a religious holiday season? Does the birth of a man who by his living transformed the traditional practice of religion still matters?
Some people actually hate the season. For them, it is not necessarily the consumerism that has captured its spirit that they despise. What is hurtful for them are the memories and reminders that it holds. Elvis Presley, I believe it was him, described their sentiment with his song “Blue Christmas,” or whatever the title.
Blue Christmas Without You
Thirteen years ago, I knew and shared those feelings. No one could blame me if this year my Christmas was turning blue again.
My experience of such a season 13 years ago was a first-time experience for me. Christmas was always “the most wonderful time of the year.” Even when my mother was baking canned ham (go figure) because she could not afford to buy the picnic ham. All my conscious life, until turning 41, 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. My words then rivalled Elvis’ or any other crooner’s most sorrow-filled Christmas song. However, with the turning of time, things changed. Often heard it said that the “only constant in life – changes” and that is a most correct observation.
For years, I have shared my mess, making it my message. I do this not because I am a Pentecostal or something of the sort. Instead, that has become my way because 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 for me in the past. So terrifying to the point that I did not want to have another – thought about changing that is.
One evening in December 2007, over an early supper with a woman-friend, I reminded her of her late mother’s words. We had found them written on a piece of paper in her deceased mother’s apartment as we cleared it. Those words returned to me earlier that day, before our supper, as I reflected on my journey from the previous year. Her mother had written, in short,
I have come to learn that it is not time but love that heals.”
My desperation of the previous Christmas was well-noted in my journals as a Blue Christmas. A year later, sitting with my friend, the progress that I made was clear. I saw how Love was healing my life.
Blue To Rainbow
Approaching Christmas 2007 and now approaching Christmas 2020, I look to my writings to find those healing and joy-filled points in my life. Then and now, my rainbow moments come from small things, small happenings even amidst grief and the hurt around the world with COVID-19. Even with the waves of grief that washes over me for a life ended and another changed by one bullet.
Among them, then and now, are the facts that:
- I have been a citizen of one of the most beautiful and compassionate places in the world – Canada. My daughter and I were sworn in as Canadian citizens over a decade-plus ago. Now, I have two even more beautiful and hopefully strong-willed Canadian-Ghanian-Jamaican granddaughters.
- Although I have not been working since March 2020 due to illness and the pandemic, my general health is holding. Emotions run marathons with me, backwards into valleys and forward into hope. I ardently try to keep up by focussing on the work of setting up and helping others through this Foundation.
- Spiritually, my growth continues to deepen and strengthen. The time of isolation has helped me to focus on what truly matters.
- Economically, my life has been simplified out of necessity and my own preferred ways of living. While my income has significantly reduced, I still feel enormously blessed.
Blessed Not Stressed
As the saying goes – “I am too blessed to be stressed,” – no Blue Christmas for me. There have been bumps along the way over those years and in the last many months. My husband was murdered in July 2020. Yet none of this has stopped me dead in my tracks. Paused but not stopped.
In the past, there were several Christmas Eve nights that I sat alone in the pew of a strange church. And my Christmas morning breakfasts since 2007 were had alone. (My husband and I lived in different countries and our schedules were such that we were never together on Christmas Day). But, I always have my favourite Jamaican breakfast of ackee and saltfish with ham cuttings and fried dumplings.
I am alive, I am well and all is well! Thanks be to Source! That is how I turned my blue into rainbows. By keeping my eyes as much and as often as possible on the Source of all things in my life.
This Christmas season will be a challenge for many. It will be one for me as well. To ease someone else’s pain and stress, we here at Daughters of Sheba Foundation decided to help, in our own way, two women.
Check out our She Deserves It Christmas Meal Basket Giveaway© and if you live in Jamaica, please nominate a woman before the deadline – midnight, December 11, 2020.
Knowing full well that not everyone enjoys this season, do be as sensitive as you can without limiting your own thanksgiving. It is indeed a time to give thanks – for another year, another chance to make another choice, another opportunity to let Love heal what ails you. If we can help in any way, please message us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Do what you must to turn your Blue Christmas into a rainbow of Love.
Peace and Love,