I have been reflecting on mortality lately.. Not in a morbid way, because I certainly don’t mean to be a downer, especially in this festive holiday season, which I am thoroughly enjoying…Today as I write down my thoughts on mortality it is the last day of November…… But this blog will not appear until December 1st, and so today is cyber Monday…I am extremely happy to report that thanks to the due diligence of my daughter and grand daughter, I have already completed the majority of my Christmas shopping, and there are some killer deals out there on Cyber Monday….
And I am sure that will continue throughout the whole holiday season…It is so very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidaze, and the sheer physical grind takes it’s toll, there is no denying that…. So much so that a lot of times we lose sight of the fact that these festive occasions are indeed “The days of our lives,” as the old soap opera used to be called….These are the time we SHOULD be enjoying….But all too often we get caught in the “Bah Humbug” trap of the Christmas season…
You can see where that attitude got the original Ebeneezer Scrooge in the wonderful Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol” published in 1843, and why Scrooge’s eternal tale of death and rebirth has become such a timeless classic…According to my Google sources:
“Scrooge’s transformation is legendary. At the beginning of the story he’s a greedy, selfish person.
He mutters that….“Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” But as you turn each page of the book, or watch many of the television movies and adaptations of the book, he turns into the man who “knew how to keep Christmas well.”
If you somehow have been living in a cave all of your life and don’t know this story, it unfolds like this: “Initially Scrooge is a miser who shows a decided lack of concern for the rest of mankind. However after a ghostly night, Scrooge sees life in a whole new way. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.
Beyond merely urging his readers to not be miserly Dickens seems to be reminding us of the importance in taking notice of the lives of those around us.“It is required of every man,” the ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”
That is my point exactly! We need to enjoy the good times while we can, to treasure each day for the wonderful life affirming gift that it is, and especially now, in the holiday season…..I know it is a drag to have to work, to spend time shopping at the malls, to deal with the extra traffic, to spend our scarce money at all, but it is all worth it, especially if you have young kids, at the end of Christmas Day…
It is a time, a whole season of the year to celebrate, to rejoice and enjoy the fact that we live in America, the greatest country in the world…Hopefully, Thanksgiving reminded us off all the things we have to be thankful for, and Christmas is like the shining, glowing capstone of the holidaze….
The glow on the children’s faces on Christmas day as they tear off the bright, colorful wrapping paper and ribbons it took us hours to carefully and meticulously wrap around all the presents is priceless and beyond measure….. Their excited anticipation as the magical day approaches, getting closer and closer, is a joy for all of us jaded, sophisticated adults to observe and enjoy…..
Christmas is especially for the kids, but it is also a time for families, especially extended families…In this crazy wild wonderful new world we all live in, where family members are scattered all over the landscape of this wonderful world we call America, it is not always possible to be with all of our loved ones over the Christmas holiday…..
But this is the beauty of our high tech society! Not only do we have the added luxury of online shopping and “Cyber Monday” but also when the day arrives, with cell phones and Skype and texting we can still reach out and touch someone we love, even if we cannot physically be with them because of distance or harsh weather or whatever…We are all scattered and yet we are all united as well!
I guess that is all that I am trying to say….Mortality is a grim but inevitable business; all of our lives are like books…They have a beginning, a middle and an ending….As the Jim Morrison 1997 biography is so aptly titled and eloquently states: “No One Here Gets Out Alive.”…..
But that is the same exact reason we should enjoy the holidaze, relax and reflect on our good fortune as we find it, to enjoy these special days for what they really are, the most important chapters in each of our personal books of our own lives….Admittedly some of us have it better than others, but it is all part of the human condition…
And we all have our own personal books, and we are all the author of our own personal books, so make these important chapters in our lives like Christmas shine brightly…Burnish and polish them so they reflect the true spirit of Christmas, love and peace and harmony….
Stop all the frantic scrambling and rambling around chasing down the latest sales and take an overview of your own lives…I find this helps me immensely in my own personal life…I do not fear death, I am an innately spiritual person and truly believe that this life is not just a shallow rendition of the old pessimistic but hauntingly beautiful 1969 Peggy Lee song “Is This All There Is?”
Because life is precious, it should be, and you can make your own life so very much more….Life and death are yin and yang, two sides of the same coin, inextricably bound together and impossible to separate…So just do it! Or as Captain Picard from the Star ship Enterprise used to so famously say to his subordinates, “Make It So!”
It is really all just a matter of perspective...
For more blogs by John Whye, see http://www.johnwhye.com