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
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
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 décor
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