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We Need the Grinch


We Need the Grinch

Its not that life isn’t tough enough. Its that we need to reckon with the commercialization of the meaning of many holidays. We need to reckon with how we truly feel on any day regardless of what day it is. We should not become coerced into believing we are unworthy of feeling lousy around the holidays. We need to give permission to feeling down or lousy about anything during anytime of the year. Feelings are normal. And most feelings many times are justified.

Last night as I took my nightly walk in the dark. Which has become part of my discipline to add non-running miles to my running legs as part of my recovery, healing, and rebuilding to eventual higher running mileage once again.

As I look around at the residential neighborhood we live in. There is rarely any traffic most times I do this nightly walk. In two to three miles, I’ll see about two to four dogs on leashes being walked. I may hear parts of a game being coached up on a field about a mile from my home. Sometimes I’ll walk a distance from where some soccer and baseball games are being played or hear the high school marching band practice on certain nights in season.

However, after Thanksgiving I expect some form of peaceful presence for the next week or so. Not just in lower noise decibels but also in a calmer, darker, view of the outside nightness in all its midnight blue to blackness surrounding us .

No matter how brief it may seem. We all need that week after Thanksgiving to breath. Perhaps to be grateful for the presence of people we had in our lives. The presence of nature, whether it be witnessing the rutting season of the deer. The romping of our neighborhood squirrels to capture every last acorn they could carry into their dwellings. Or to witness clouds shifting uncovering a full moon or a waning gibbous. It is the peace that every human needs. I particularly thirst for it.

I thirst so much for that calm dark desolation of peace, that recently I revealed to one of my daughter’s friends the remoteness I have craved to live in.  His remark at first left me dumbfounded.  Yet his questioning of my desire for aloneness set me off on an observatory mission. Which last night made me realize that most people  don’t feel that connectivity of that natural dark calmness of peace that is seldom had yet needed. And now more than ever before it is needed in all our lives.

As I walked passed houses now lit up with holiday lights. The lights and decorations have been up on most houses starting the night after Thanksgiving, November 24th eve. By Sunday, November 26th eve, nearly seven out of every ten homes by me now had lights and Christmas d├ęcor some strewn on lawns. Some gracing structures and homes of our neighborhood. That visual peace. That one week respite from stressors that accompany the holiday season for me, was now destroyed.

I contemplated this as I walked; then I saw a man who’d I’d said ‘hi’ to before over the past few months on my nightly walks. He had an energetic German shepherd puppy he would walk. The puppy normally had a green glow in the dark collar. I stopped the man and his dog and asked, “Hey where is your dog’s little green glow in the dark collar piece?” He chuckled and said, “She chewed it.” We snickered. Then we paused our walking and began to chat.

I asked him, “You didn’t happen to put up your Christmas lights and decorations yet, have you?”

He replied, "No. I haven’t.” I then stated, “I’m feeling kind of like the Grinch.”

He remarked, “I am the Grinch.” I replied, "Oh thank God. Because you know, people have rushed the holiday and put their stuff up too soon. Its not healthy.” He added, “Yeah. Then it reminds us to hurry and buy gifts for people. The rush is on.” He shook his head. “Yep. I think the Grinch is needed.” I commented.  We talked a bit more then parted.

As I began my walk back to our home, I realized that most people are not all that grounded. It’s not a new revelation to me. It’s that every season we should consider the graces of silent nights. Yet we Christians have allowed our own coercion into believing  we must keep the commercialized capitalism of Christmas alive by artificially partaking in the antithesis of Christmas as antagonists of silent nights.

I equal this to certain Christians on some level believing that they are the chosen. Which invariably I knew since I was a Catholic child that we weren’t. We were and are merely just as human as the next religious person of any denomination, too as much as and equal to the non-religious people within and outside of our own communities. Love is encompassing to all. It is not divided to us and them, ever.

You see, it’s not about how many churches you have, and how many bars you don’t have in a town. It’s about being the model for silent knights of peace. That’s why we need the Grinch.---Jody-Lynn Reicher


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