“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
1 Timothy 6:10, KJV
“Yo, we at war. We at war with terrorism, racism and most of all, we at war with ourselves… (Jesus walks) God show me the way because the Devil’s tryna break me down! (Jesus walks with me) with me, with me, with me…”
Kanye West, “Jesus Walks”, The College Dropout, 2004
My entry for this week has been the hardest one to write thus far. Not only did I experience technical issues with posting, but I am also wrestling with some emotional and spiritual demons. I try my best to be as open and honest as possible with my audience, keeping in mind that all of this ‘sharing’ plays an important role in my healing process, so please bear with me and pray with me while I try to work through it.
Did y’all ever see an 80s movie called, “The Neverending Story”? If you haven’t seen it, you should, trust. For those of you in the know, remember the scene where Atreyu and his horse, Artax, get caught up in the Swamps of Sadness? Remember what happened if the sadness of the swamp overwhelmed you? I use this scene often to describe how the struggle of life can be sometimes. I tell my friends going through difficult situations to fight against the sadness or the swamp will swallow you alive. I know from experience how hard it can be to pull yourself from the death-grip of depression because I am fighting a battle of my own right now.
And I’m afraid I may be losing this battle, y’all.
In a previous post, I explained that for the last five years, I have suffered from a severe case of the holiday blues. I sincerely thought that my joy would continue to grow as we got closer to Christmas day, but I think my happiness has reached a plateau.
Funny thing is, I guess while wallowing in my own misery for the past half decade, I failed to see the multitude of other hurting people who fight depression during this time of the year as well.
The death of a loved one, financial hardship and loneliness are three difficult life issues to handle anytime of the year, but those wounds heal much slower during the holiday season. As for me and my feelings, I really hate being broke. I know that my lack of money should not interfere with my ability to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but it does, because it reminds me once again about the poor choices I’ve made in life to land me where I am today.
I have stolen from people, sold drugs and been to jail more times than I can count on both hands. And what does any of that have to do with Christmas? Well, I wanna buy presents for my friends and family. I got nieces and nephews who deserve a toy from Te-Te Shaunna. I have yet to purchase a gift for my Grandmother with money I earned on my own and I’m almost 40 years old! Employers that pay decent money to their employees don’t hire ex-cons like me to work for their companies, so I get stuck in the low-income rut of life, which allots me just enough money to survive; therefore, I can’t afford to buy anybody anything for Christmas, and that makes me feel horrible, absolutely horrible.
Moreover, I learned about the true meaning of Christmas very early in life. In fact, I am very grateful to both my parents for shaping my childhood view of the holiday season. Last week I shared that I truly believe this is the most wonderful time of the year. As a child, I would be overjoyed to see my cousins and aunties and uncles because everyone lived so far away from each other that sometimes we only saw them around Thanksgiving or Christmas each year. Now, my cousins are older with their own families and our big gatherings are few and even farther between. That makes me very sad, very sad, indeed.
And I hate to admit this, but I think when my Aunt passed away last month, that might have opened the door to the melancholy temperament lingering within me, now. Although my Aunt and me were never extremely close, I am close to her children, my cousins, and I know they must be devastated by the loss of their Mama, especially right now. I know I would be, and that breaks my heart.
As an adult, we see so much chaos and turmoil in the world every day, it’s no wonder so many people just give up and succumb to their own sadness.
But I ain’t gonna let the Swamps of Sadness overtake me!
I know that in spite of the dismal turn of events, I need to maintain my Christmas spirit. I know that without the storms, there would be no rainbows. I know that if the Lord brings me to it, He will bring me through it. If my faith has taught me nothing else, it has taught me how to pray, be patient and wait on the Lord. He promised to keep me and never leave me. He has never, ever come short of His word.
As for my dwindling Christmas spirit, I will follow the lead of my sweet nieces and nephews who will just be happy to open a gift on Christmas day and I will thank God for His only begotten Son who lived and died so a sinner like me could be saved. Now, do you see? If you just stop, take a deep breath and think about it, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. Until next time…