Merry Christmas Eve! I hope this letter finds you well and rested. I know that some people feel energized and festive this time of year and others feel tired and dragged out by it all, so I won’t assume that you’re the jingle-bells-and-all-things-merry kind of person as I suspect you’re more like me and tend to hide away from all that is Christmas in America each year when it rolls around. From “Black Friday” through the first week in January, I tend to avoid going out at all. But in all fairness, I’ve had been diagnosed with agoraphobia for about 8 years now, so I am not absolutely sure if the holidays are the cause of my annual hibernation or simply my excuse.
Either way, though I hoped I might be able to visit the beach and spend a little time with the waves for Christmas (maybe even go out tonight at midnight and listen to the waves while looking at the stars), I have discovered that people apparently actually plan Christmas at the beach for their holiday celebrations and my lovely little slice of piece and quiet during the offseason has turned into a flurry of the people will be taking their trash down and leaving it all over the beach and driving their cars back and forth between my condo and the beach; honking and honking back in return to each other frequently as if to be saying “Look at us! We’re in cars! At the beach! And we’re honking! Isn’t this wonderful!” just like that, except with honks instead of syllables. Usually followed with a “Wooooo!”
Amy….I don’t get it. I really just don’t get it. Do you? It isn’t a new phenomenon for me to feel so out of sync with others but it feels especially so when I am around those who are wealthier than middle class. There is a private yacht club fairly close to here and a large golf course resort on the other side of where I’m staying, so I get the impression the people who stay in this immediate area tend to be those who are a little wealthier than those who are wealthier than the middle class and, while I don’t want to generalize and will never presume to know someone else’s thoughts, but it seems to me the wealthier the person, the less they seem to care about the environment and keeping their trash out of the ocean and the more they always seem to be acting, as a group and individually within groups, like they’re having fun rather than appearing to actually be enjoying themselves. Do you every notice this as well? Or am I just coveting and this is just wishful thinking that the super rich are also super bored?
So for Christmas (and most likely New Years), I’m at the beach but not on the beach, tucked away inside my cute little condo, commencing my holiday hibernation and wondering if maybe I should have considered that having 10 protein drinks and a frozen burrito in my fridge probably wasn’t the best preparation for this little holiday shut in. So yay! A hibernation with the side effect of weight loss. Won’t that be swell?
I had a thought yesterday as I was finishing my last letter to you that it’s curious that, with the exception of the very first letter I wrote, I haven’t been interrupted by the others since then when writing to you. For each of the letters since that first one, I have remained in control of the keyboard and the thoughts that are being included in these letters and that makes me happy but it also gives me a moment’s pause. I’m happy to have the exclusive chance to write to you and tell you all the things I’ve been wanting to say for so long, as I know I would grow frustrated, and quite possibly give up, if I were having to constantly fight for control or worry about what was going to be said in these letters. But it does give me pause because, while I do have a bit of a twinge of jealousy in admitting it, I’m not the most interesting of the collection and one or two of the others would definitely be writing much more entertaining, interesting and humorous letters to you if they were to spend some time at the keyboard.
So yesterday I was thinking about what a shame it was that none of the others have shown up to write a letter to you and today, with me along for the ride but not in the driver’s seat, one of the others did in fact spend quite a bit of time at the keyboard writing to you and, as a result, I am reminded why, although I may be more boring and long winded, it will be best if I am the primary correspondent for a while longer. Not because this other didn’t have some interesting thoughts to share with you but because in reading those thoughts I found myself squinting from the glare of the anger that radiated back out from them and grimacing from the snarkiness that dripped from almost every paragraph.
I obviously don’t want to share the letter in its entirety for reasons I’ve already explained but I also don’t want to withhold it from you in its entirety because, even while squinting my eyes and cringing, I could recognize the truth behind the angry words and, although some people might be offended, I appreciate some of the completely unabashed admissions of some thoughts and actions that make me, dare I say, happy to know I have within me a self that is made of this kind of raw unapologetic straightforward energy; especially so in knowing that integration will bring us together and allow me to absorb all of the qualities along side my own. I believe I will be fierce and unstoppable if that day comes when I carry cohesively and woven together that strengths of all those within me; even Little One with her little bad self. lol
Please allow me to give you some context both on the author and the subject matter about which the letter was written. Eventually I want to give you an introduction to everyone who is within me but for the purposes of introducing today’s letter I’ll summarize in saying the author is an angry feminist who has a bone to pick with evangelical Christianity and is gravely disgusted by the way the US conducts itself both as a country and as a world citizen. It is hard for me to distinguish myself from this alter with the exception of the unshakable bitterness. It is almost as if this alter exists only to hold for me all of the anger I have felt but never expressed as a girl growing up into a woman in Christian America.
Today, as part of my ongoing effort to study all of the world’s major religions, I started reading a copy of the Qur’an that I bought a couple of years ago and actually found it pretty interesting and much different from what I expected and have been led to believe I might find within it. This, and the rampant Islamophobia in the US today, is obviously the impetus for the letter my alter wrote to you today, but it covers quite a bit of other controversial topics from there that are, albeit accurate, highly controversial in today’s climate. I would share the letter with you but in some cases, it’s best to just let things stay unsent and unshared and I think this may be one of those times.
In the interest of wanting to give you what I consider the best bits from the letter, I’ll just use my judgement in sharing what I think you’ll enjoy the most. Please note, however, as long winded as I know I can be, you would be amazed at the number of topics that are covered in this letter and the amount of discussion for each topic. So there will be some significant room in which you will just have to imagine the context in which these things were said. If you don’t understand what I mean by saying that, you will in a moment:
“If a “rapture” were to occur as most Christians (and those awful Left Behind books) describe it, I’m not sure most of America would even notice until they couldn’t reach anyone from the East on the phone.”
“[…] they say things and believe things that are so repulsive that it makes them sound like, with no exaggeration here, Nazi’s hating the Jewish in the way they generalize and speak as if those of the Islamic faith are somehow not even human in their minds. And it should be noted – everyone I know who has become like this is a white Christian and a supporter of the current president.”
“I would love to [take down and expose the fraudulence of] Joel Osteen first. Because that man gives me the heebie jeebies like no other and I can’t wait to see his empire of prosperity gospel bullshit crumble around him.”
“Even if there are truly good Christians and good churches, until I hear their voices and their pulpits speaking loudly in the denouncement of the evil that is happening in the name of Christianity, I will lump them in with the rest; for their silence as complicit.”
“I guess I really wanted to smoke some weed because I got the Gideon’s bible out of the night stand, tore out a page, rolled it up and smoked it. I was really proud of myself at the time for my ingenuity.”
So there you have it…a pretty consistent theme throughout and, while all accurate, there wasn’t a lot of Light in the letter but instead a lot of anger and frustration in discussing all the darkness. And while the darkness truly warrants the reactions of anger and frustration (and so many other soul draining emotions), I have learned there is absolutely nothing to be gained for the good from being angry or frustrated and to have my soul drained by the darkness I see around me; but there is something to be gained by the darkness if I allow it to suck me in.
But I don’t say that lightly and I know how hard it is to avoid The Suck in this world. It doesn’t take much to find a headline that predicts imminent doom and the extinction of the human race and it doesn’t much to find a human who makes a perfect case for why extinction really might not be that bad of an idea. But that is where I get confused because, according to the laws of supply and demand, things are supposed to become more precious and more sought after once they become more scarce and less valuable when there is a surplus. This being true, in looking at the world today, how are the news outlets making money selling bad news? And why isn’t there a demand or money to be made in selling good news? Something doesn’t add up here and, in my experience, when things don’t add up it is because the truth isn’t in the equation. Another thing that confuses me is trying to understand why, despite the overwhelming evidence there will always be another source of darkness to be worried about or horrified by, why are so many people still watching and reading the news to see what comes next? What is so appealing to everyone in hearing all the gory details about the school shootings and the rapes and the wars?
I strongly believe that shutting down and removing all televisions, news, commercials and ads from my life has been a big part of the reason I’ve been able to find the Light in this world. I haven’t watched a newscast since 2013 with the exception of last year when I watched the coverage of John’s death and I shouldn’t have done that because the images I saw are burned in my mind in a way I’m not sure I’ll be free of them. When I have friends who tell me how depressed they are and about how they can’t see to shake it off, I always ask them if they watch television or listen to the radio and they’re usually incredulous that I would even ask because, of course they do! And they’re not going to stop because they like it and it makes them happy! I think Mr. Rogers knew what kind of power television was going to have in controlling the minds and hearts of the people who spent their time in front of one and that’s why he tried so hard to have programming for children that would teach them kindness and empathy. If you’ve watched any of the movies and documentaries about Mr. Rogers that have come out recently, you may already know this but in watching them I was struck, deeply, by learning that Mr. Rogers died a sad man; having considered his battle against the darkness over and lost. That, if you think about it, is a very ominous thing considering how prevalent television has become in the lives of families; including the children.
It’s striking, when you think of it really. It was only with my generation that every household was getting a television and I was married and had a child before computers were being brought into homes and I was working in the IT field playing an active role in deploying the technology that has gotten us all caught up in the world wide web, and my son was a baby when I bought my first cell phone with it’s funky little pull-out antenna. So televisions, microcomputer, the Internet and cell phones; the four technological developments that I would say are the reason the darkness of the world is reaching so deeply into everyone’s lives and their homes, were all adopted as “necessities” since I was born. It’s no wonder people have trouble finding light in their lives; everyone is pumping darkness and even paying for the privilege to receive it in many cases! So many people in this world drowning in the darkness, looking for the light and I want to shout to them, “Turn off your television! Put away your phone! Log off social media!”
STAY AWAY FROM THE SUCK!
This is especially true for anyone who watches Joel Osteen. These people should not only turn off their televisions, they should prolly set them on fire just for good measure.
Well despite my rant against that evils of technology and the darkness they deliver into our lives, my cell phone just delivered some pictures of a very special 3 year old in Kansas who calls me “JuJu” and who just opened and is wearing the rainbow unicorn headband and tutu with the light-up sparkle rainbow wand that sent her for Christmas and my heart is melting in the sweetness of it all. I guess, as I was channeling my Amish vibe and railing on all things technology, it was decided I needed a reminder that light can come from anywhere, through anything and be found anywhere.
Imagine this on the cutest little 3 year old imaginable. Is this not precious. It is precious. If were available in adult sizes, I would need one and I would prance (quite literally) around in it with the kind of joy that only a rainbow unicorn can feel.
And with that reminder, I’ll take this opportunity for a graceful exit before I get started on something else that I might start feeling preachy about. Please be well, my friend. And Merry Christmas.