Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas past

I am fortunate to be acquainted with many people with a variety of opinions and perspectives. It adds richness to my life experience. At this time of year I make sure to connect with far away friends. Not that I neglect them the rest of the year but, to me Christmas is special in many ways regarding the times gone by. Yesterday my phone was humming with our conversations. It was enjoyable as well as informative. Of three guys I spoke with they were of three somewhat different thoughts regarding this life and the one that follows.

It is my belief that we are spiritual as well as physical beings. I believe that our lives pass from the physical to completely spiritual when we pass away. We do not go away, we simply leave the restrictions of the physical life behind. I don't expect others to share my belief but that's what it is in a nutshell.

The first guy I spoke with is 80 years old. He has had quite a life but that story is definitely for a different time. He celebrates Christmas by attending church services and going to cemeteries to sit by the graves of his deceased relatives and remember the times they had together. He feels that they have become angels, have the bodies of 18 year olds and are flying around with wings from one planet to another and exploring the universe. He misses them but is happy for them at the same time. He figures that he will join them in their explorations when the time comes. He is most anxious to see what Mars is all about.

The second guy doesn't believe in the afterlife in any form. Dead is dead he says. He's 50 years old. His mother passed away when he was 5 years old. He never visits the cemetery or attend any church services, not even weddings or funerals. When Christmas arrives he takes a vacation from work and secludes himself in his home so he doesn't have to hear about all the sappy holiday stuff. It makes him too sad, he says. He talks to me as long as there is nothing whatsoever concerning Christmas. He doesn't say so but for lack of a better term, I think he is mad at his mother for dying. He's a great guy unless you wish him a Merry Christmas. Then he becomes sullen and won't talk to you. I've learned my lesson and keep the conversation about other things.

The third guy is going through a difficult time. His mother, whom he was very close to passed away just a few months ago and this is his first Christmas without her in his entire life. He is 34 years old. He has no belief in anything other than what he can see and touch. He asks a lot of questions about our spiritual side but can't grasp the concept. He is very sad. All he knows is that his mother isn't sitting in the living room near the tree. He put up all the trappings, bought gifts for his wife and child, plans on having friends and family over for Christmas dinner but he isn't really enjoying the experience.

These are examples of how we sometimes approach differently. I feel it is a happy and joyful time. Chock full of a lifetime of memories and experiences I was blessed to have regarding family and friends. I even look back at the Christmas I spent broke, sleeping in the basement of a cold building, on the floor with only newspapers for covers. I met a couple of absolutely wonderful, caring, happy people back then that I would never have met otherwise. They were convinced they could make the world a better place, one cup of free coffee at a time. My father and mother have both been gone for quite some time now. I am grateful for my understanding concerning our spiritual lives. Although I miss them dearly I feel they are still around. The spirit of the Christmas season, the songs, the decorations, the holiday greetings, the whole nine yards are all welcome in my life. Although I find it hard to understand how anyone can not find happiness at this time, I can certainly respect their personal beliefs. I have found that everything that has transpired is as much a part of us as the heart that beats in our chest and will always be with us. Some things exist whether we believe in them or not. Meanwhile, it is my great pleasure to wish you a very, merry Christmas!
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