Bah! Humbug: What’s Christmas all about?

I find myself identifying with Charlie Brown and Ebenezer Scrooge this year. For some reason, I’m just not in the mood for Christmas. Normally, I love this time of year: the traditions, the music, the food, and the family togetherness. I like seeing the lights and decorations, smelling the apple spice and peppermint, and reminding my children that it is better to give than to receive. I enjoy donating to charities that help children have a present because all children deserve that regardless of their circumstances.

My favorite part of A Charlie Brown Christmas is when Linus, asked by Charlie Brown if anyone can tell him what Christmas is all about, stands on the stage and recites Luke, chapter 2, 8-14, as translated by the Authorized King James Version:

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.

It’s a beautiful story—one that some people believe as truth and others think is fiction. I can understand both viewpoints. Continue reading “Bah! Humbug: What’s Christmas all about?”

Beside Myself

“Beside Myself” Free Verse Poetry, Poetry Workshop, 2002

I’m amazed I didn’t cry
That night when I parked beside the lake
To talk to God.
I needed Him to listen to me
Because you would leave in eight hours.

I knew that fifty-two weeks
Would pass before I could see you or
Kiss you again.
Until you’re home, I’ll close my eyes and
Imagine you walking beside me.

It’s been forty-four weeks since
You left for overseas adventure.
Tell me, baby,
Am I still the only woman who
You can talk to for six hours straight?

More than I need the courage
I prayed for long ago, I need to
Hear your laughter.
It’s hard living without your soft brow
And your scratchy sculptor’s hand in mine.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

My biggest fear

Fear. It can be crippling. It can also change as we age. What’s your biggest fear right now at this moment? Will you have the same answer tomorrow?

When I was little, my biggest fear was abandonment. After my father passed away, my mother remarried the man who would end up raising me and shaping my life in ways I didn’t know were possible at the time. I was only four, which is how old my daughter is now. I didn’t understand everything that had happened. I just had a fuzzy memory of my mother holding me over the side of my father’s hospital bed and telling me to say goodbye. I hadn’t said anything; I’d just waved. Waving instead of speaking is something my daughter does sometimes when she’s apprehensive about something. She’s afraid of the dark and worries when she thinks I am mad at her.

Not long after my mother and stepfather got married, I began having a recurring nightmare. I think I was about six when it began and it happened several times during the next few years. I dreamt about having to go hunting with my stepfather, just the two of us. In the dream, he made me stand under the water in a creek so that he could stand on my shoulders and look for deer through his binoculars. When I couldn’t hold my breath any longer, I pushed him off my shoulders, and he fell into the water and hit his head on the rocks. He wouldn’t wake up. At that point, I would always wake up crying. Pretty twisted for a kid’s dream, huh?

Continue reading “My biggest fear”