Tag Archives: holiday blues

Strange Times and Weird Holidays

 

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Billy Pilgrim came for Thanksgiving then swiftly became unstuck in time. He travelled onward… or back.

Those of you who remember Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five know that when time came unstuck for Billy, he could spring forward to a happier place or he could fall back to appalling happenstance, like the bombing of Dresden during World War II. Billy had no say when it came to the matter of time. We, however, have a modicum of control over ours.

We even time travel- to an extent, not physically like Billy, but we can remember… relive what that shiny red bike looked like on that best Christmas ever, recall what it felt like to hold a newborn. We think ahead, hope for better, and manifest our dreams. The Pilgrim within gets to choose where we travel. We don’t have to visit any of the ugly stuff, past present or future if we don’t want to.

In one of my favorite parts of Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy’s fiancé flashed her diamond ring at Mr. Rosewater, “Billy got it in the war,” she beamed. Did she know that the gem came from rubble which once was Dresden; the rock was a spoil of war? To her it was a symbol of love, her dream of upcoming happiness, her time travel forward.

Mr. Rosewater’s reply could not have been challenged, “That’s the wonderful thing about war. Everybody gets something.” I get it, Mr. Rosewater. Some people get diamonds and others get dead.

Without understating the sufferings of war by comparing them to holidays, I have to admit that similarities do exist… especially this particular Holiday Season.

And as I travel back to our family holidays, they were like a series of tiny Napoleonic battles. We shouted, pounded on tables, about politics, social issues… religion, we dug up past resentments… said hurtful words. There is no doubt that we loved each other, we loved each other like mad, but with the collective holiday anger of my crazy family? Unite us, add one case of brandy, a few bottles of Ouzo and we could have invaded Canada.

That’s the thing about holidays, everybody gets something. Some get arguments and some get loved, some get the Lexus and some stand in line for a meal. Some children get a bike and others get shot.

So as the month of gratitude gives way to peppermint truffles and decadence I will live my moments more deliberately, select my thoughts carefully, choose the kindest words possible when speaking about our world as it is. And with my memories, I guess, I’ll be selective. After all, those impetuous relatives are sorely missed now. So it goes.

I look forward with hopefulness, to a time when peace on planet earth is achievable. I’ll dream that everyone everywhere has food, clothing and shelter. I’ll imagine that it’s so. And I will accept what I get this year (thank you very much for the lovely brown socks) with grace.

I hope for patience and tolerance from all of the people I love. No gifts for me this year, there’s nothing I need, except one favor from all. I need an advance on forgiveness, like a caveat, a hall pass or a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Those will do very well for me, please. Because I, like Billy Pilgrim, have a history… and probably even a genetic pre-disposition to becoming unstuck… just a little.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Enjoy Christmas present.

Take time for love!

Slaughterhousefive

And maybe re-read an old favorite,

 

Jonna

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Blessings and the Blues by Sherrie Hansen

In this year’s Christmas letter, I said,  “I am now a published author of two books, Night and Day, and Stormy Weather – a most wonderful happening, squeezed in between daily stresses that do not go away simply because something extraordinary has happened.”

Being published is certainly a dream come true for me. I’ve signed more than 800 copies of Night and Day – To dreams come true,  Sherrie Hansen (with a flourish under my name).

So why is it, when our dreams finally come true… when we finally find the pot of gold at the rainbow… the experience often isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

As a single woman, I was convinced that when I met Mr. Right, all my problems would mysteriously vanish.  I would lose all the weight that I had gained over the years because I had no one to hold me, no one to be with. My financial woes would disappear, my sorrows would simply go away, and my frustrations would evaporate, so wrought with great joy and extraordinary sex my life would be.

As all of you old married couples tried to tell me, being part of a couple comes with its own set of challenges, and that’s not even taking step-children into account!

When the economy is in a down cycle, I console myself with dreams that this or that politician or promise or occurrence or happening will make everything all better again. My troubles will all fly-away, and I’ll be in the money again. Then, everything will be wonderful.

As a yet-to-be published author, I told myself much the same little white lies. Being published was all I needed to make me happy. If I only had the affirmation of knowing my work was worthy of publication, I would be satisfied. All I needed is to hear is that someone likes my book, and then everything would be okay.

Don’t get me wrong – being published is a wonderful feeling. Hearing from readers who like my books and can’t wait to read more is a joyful, unparalleled thing.

So why is it that this year, of all years, I have a royal case of the holiday blues?

Perhaps it is because my back is out, I’m estranged from my 19 year old step-son, and I’m still faced with frustrating circumstances on a near daily basis as I struggle to juggle a time-consuming business, family, friends, husband, church, and now, a blossoming writing career with it’s own set of demands. Perhaps it’s because I’m in my 50’s and my body, both physically and emotionally, is changing, falling apart, failing me.

Perhaps it’s because I’m still deluding myself, thinking that any one occurrence can make me happy.

Perhaps its because I keep forgetting to count my many blessings, name them one by one…   Perhaps it’s because I am a blue belle living in a blue house, when I should be out painting the town pink, or green or yellow or even purple, looking up, seeing rainbows.

The pot of gold may be ever elusive, but the rainbows, ah, the rainbows… the rainbows always keep me looking up.

What about you? Have you ever achieved a goal, then found it less than satisfying? Are you singing the blues this Christmas or swinging from a chandelier as you ring in the New Year? Have you found the secret of happiness? Contentment in any circumstance? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

The author is in, and signing copies of her latest release. Keep looking up!  Sherrie Hansen (with a flourish under my name.)

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