‘Tis the season when the proverbial classic Christmas Carol comes to life once more. Even though we’re all familiar with Dickens’ tale, theatre goers are still drawn to see the miserly, mean spirited Scrooge demanding his due pound of flesh from his hard working, put upon clerk, Bob Crachett. And who can resist empathizing with the destitute Cratchit family, especially poor, loving Tiny Tim?
What is it that keeps this enduring tale alive? Perhaps we identify with the characters. Maybe we see ourselves as the kinder, more generous Scrooge that emerges after his encounter with the visions of Christmas past, present and future. Maybe we see ourselves as the underdog clerk at the mercy of an avaricious unfeeling employer or society in general.
I’m sure none of us see ourselves as the heartless, semi reclusive tyrant, Scrooge. After all, we do give to others, be it in a collection plate, through disaster relief, food banks, clothing drives… But how often do we give just because we think it’s expected? Do we give out of a sense of obligation, to impress others or because of a genuine heartfelt desire to help?
A modern day Scrooge, most of my “good deeds” were performed with an eye to the future, my future. Ever mindful of what was in it for me, I carefully considered when, where and just how much I was willing to give. Within me, there was always a struggle— head versus heart. And I continually pondered, forever debating whether I should or shouldn’t do something. What was the right thing, the charitable, kindly, expected thing to do? I always engaged in an elaborate system of checks and balances. In my mind the reward for my benevolence did not have to be tangible or immediate. After all, I believed that my charitable acts were earning “brownie points” for which I would surely be rewarded, if not in my lifetime in the here-and-now, then certainly in the hereafter.
Then I came face to face with my own mortality. My chronic, debilitating
Fibromyalgia was raging out of control. I tried anything and everything I could find, both medical and holistic, but nothing helped. Terrified, faced with spending what was left of my life in a long-term care facility, drugged out of my mind in a futile attempt to control the horrid pain, I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for the pain to stop. I even prayed for my own death.
My prayers were answered in the form of Joy of Healing. Because of this beautiful work that has helped so many with all manner of dis—ease, I am forever grateful for my life, restored and full. Joy of Healing encouraged me to listen to my intuition, the still small voice within that helps and guides me on my journey. This life-altering work helped me to identify and deal with the underlying unresolved issues in my life that were helping to make me so very ill. At last, I am free to be me, the real me. No longer do I live the lie of trying to be the person others expect me to be. I am aware and live in the moment. I no longer face the battle within, the constant pondering and analyzing, the convoluted ideas and reasonings. No longer do I consider what’s it for me. Instead I listen to my heart and follow my passions. I give of myself, revealing who I really am instead of who I want you to believe I am. I willingly share my feelings and my possessions. I give from my heart.
A real gift is freely given out of love. It comes from a genuine desire to help and bring pleasure to another. It is unconditional. And I’ve come to appreciate that the motive behind a gift is just as important as the gift itself. A loving act without a loving feeling behind it is not loving at all.
Why do we restrict our feelings of love, generosity and good will to a certain season or time of the year? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived every day as if it were a holiday to celebrate our humanity, our compassion and generosity? It shouldn’t take an experience such as Scrooge’s visitation with ghostly apparitions or my own brush with mortality to make us realize what is truly important in our lives.
– A reformed Scrooge