CQ…Clark Here

Thoughts and opinions. LOTS of opinions.

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

What a difference a couple days makes!

Actually I should probably have said, “What a difference a couple months makes!”  My mother passed away in October (I hate euphemisms, but there it is), Beth and I went on a long-planned vacation in November, we had the typical Thanksgiving madness after that, and Christmas prep in December.  Absolutely no time to reflect, grieve for my mother, or to decompress.  Days off over Christmas meant travel, and then the start of the new year.  Since then, I have been stressing over this Dominican Republic trip, with the stress and difficulties mounting as the trip got nearer.

I remember in high school an incident, in which I committed a serious breach of protocol (that’s “slid-slip” for “I broke the rules”).  The teacher against whom I committed the infraction came to school the next day, and visited each home room with his three-foot oak paddle.  In those days, paddling was seen as completely justified, and getting paddled was nearly a rite of passage into manhood.

In any event, Mr. McCarthy walked into my home room and slammed the paddle down on a desk.  It sounded like a rifle shot in a very small room, and I nearly had a heart attack.  He made the pronouncement that he was going to find out who had done it, and they were going to get paddled by the end of the day.  I probably should have spoken up and gotten it out of the way, but such was not in my thought processes at the time.  What a long day that was!  I can’t remember any other time that I thought I was going to throw up for hours, that wasn’t illness related.  Needless to say, he caught up to me by the end of the day, and I indeed got paddled.  I’m not going to say that the anticipation was worse than the punishment, that was the hardest I have ever been hit in my life. (Sidenote: I totally deserved it, and Mr. McCarthy shortly after that became one of my favorite teachers ever.)  But what I will say is that the anticipation was absolutely wretched.

So it has been for the D.R. trip.  I have felt ill, I have been cranky, problems have piled up and nearly overwhelmed me (Control issue? Probably partly).  Scuba diving is a life’s pursuit for me, and I haven’t been under the water since November.  I haven’t even wanted to dive, and haven’t even felt like talking about it, thinking about it, or assisting in training new divers at the store.  The D.R. trip has pretty much consumed me.

We leave tomorrow.  The time is nearly here.  And last night I had the best night’s sleep I have had in a very long time.  I think I’ve come to terms with it, and I am almost (emphasis on the word “almost”) looking forward to it!  Beth and I get to spend time with friends that we love very much (plus!).   Beth and I will be doing this together (major plus!).  And I will, at last, be actually doing this for God (biggest plus of all).  Still not going to say, “Bring it on,” but I am ready.  And the anticipation?  It’s here, and it has shifted from a negative anticipation to the positive.  Pretty cool!  Maybe there’s something to this obedience stuff.  Huh!  The adventure continues.

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Normal’s lookin’ pretty good to me.

Have you ever been so low, or so burdened with life that as the saying goes, you “have to look up to see bottom?”  I’m not talking about some sort of manic-depressive situation, I’m talking about the normal cares of life, or perhaps some specific point in time that things are just particularly difficult.  I haven’t done a scientific survey, but I suspect that most people have had several such times in their life.  I know I have.

This past weekend has been one of those times for me.  Starting on Friday and continuing through Monday was no fun at all.  Issue after issue, problem after problem, my “difficulty cup” was pretty full.  Tuesday (yesterday), however, was a change-up.  It turned out to be a pretty good day.  I was productive at work, I felt pretty good, no new problems materialized that couldn’t be handled.  All in all it was what I would characterize as a normal day, a “regular” day.  The interesting part is that I was so jazzed that one of my co-workers asked me if I was on speed.  Nope, just feel great.

It reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge when he woke up to find that his experience with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come had not actually happened; he was still in the present and had the opportunity to change.  I quote him here:

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

I don’t think that Scrooge was an extraordinary man at this point in his life, I think he was what he was supposed to be all along.  And in Dickens’ story, Scrooge lived this way the rest of his life.

What a gift that is, to live life as one is supposed to.  Joyful, generous, in love with life.  I doubt that anyone can actually live their entire life without some sort of pain, some sort of difficulty.  Maybe Scrooge’s feelings are God’s gift for making it through those times.  Maybe that’s the reward for depending on Him through the attacks, through the rough patches.  All I know is that yesterday was a great day.  Thanks, God!  “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

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