Monday, December 13, 2010

Sibling Assignment #138: Ebenezer Scrooge and I

InlandEmpireGirl assigned this, the second of the Christmas-themed Sibling Assignments:

 What book or story most connects you to Christmas and why?

InlandEmpireGirl's piece, "A Christmas Carol Muppet Style" is here.   Silver Valley Girl will post hers after she has finished attending 200 Christmas concerts in the Silver Valley this week.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 1999 had to be one of the most difficult holidays I've ever known and my condition made it a very difficult day for my family here in Eugene.

I'd been out of the hospital for well over a month after nearly dying at the hands of bacterial meningitis and the meningitis continued to work its insidious effects on me. 

To be exact, I'd fallen into a deep, dark clinical depression and could not shake myself free.

I went to my desk and stared, wanting to bury my face in my hands and sob, the pressure on my head and my heart from this depression was so painful, so heavy, so unrelenting, so unforgiving. 

I wasn't Scrooge, exactly.

Scrooge walls himself off from the merriment of Christmas;  I longed for the merriment of Christmas. 

Scrooge's melancholy is of the spirit; mine was of the chemicals in my brain.

What we shared in common, though, was heaviness.  My physcial movements were labored.  My response to anyone who spoke to me was labored, sluggish, almost as if I were drugged.

The weight of my illness oppressed me, just as the weight of his protectiveness, cold-heartedness, and miserliness oppresses Scrooge.

I'll always remember watching the 1984, George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol primarily for a scene that follows closely upon Scrooge being relieved of his cold-heartedness and stinginess by the visit of the three ghosts.

George C.Scott's Scrooge calls out his upstairs window to a boy to buy the biggest turkey in a local shop and then he suddenly feels the lightness of his being.  He exclaims that he feels light as a feather and dances about his room, jumps on his bed, and indulges the weightlessness of his new found vitality.

At Christmastime, 1999, I longed to be light, to be giddy, to feel alive, to feel vitality.

I wanted to be the reformed Scrooge and exchange my lumbering spirit for a lithesome one.

My spirit was willing, but, up against the chemistry of my brain and the ravages of meningitis, my flesh was weak.

Still, it's that moment of liberation in Scrooge's life that stays with me, the way he was once a dead man who found new life and who released himself from the oppressive demons that had weighed him down his entire adult life.

It was a long time before I began to feel light again.  As I sit here now, I am happy to say that it's been since about March of 2009 since I've had an onset of black hole, paralyzing depression.

Each day that my spirit is light, I think of Scrooge.  Even if I don't do it outwardly, inwardly I dance around the room of my inward life and delight in every day that I can be light as a feather.

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