Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ghost of Christmas Past

December 22, 1983.

Turning my memory toward the small town and the boys there the Ghost of Christmas past beckons me follow.

I recognize the streets. Cold rain from the night had frozen but I didn't notice. It was early in the morning and I had somewhere to go. I was starting down the two lane out of town and heading toward a sharp curve but why was the car in front of me going so slowly? Pulling out to pass quickly before the curve the other car suddenly speeds up, matching my speed. Is he trying to kill me?  My 1977 Mazda GLC strains but has nowhere near the power necessary for the task. I slam the brakes pulling behind the car. How could he do that?! I could have been killed! Anger instantly filling my mind I begin to chase the car. I WAS going to pass him. Turn after turn losing ground up the hills but making ground on the downside I pursue. Finally on a long downhill I slip beside the car and begin the pass.

Spinning, spinning. Darkness. Cold. Why am I lying in the grass? What are those people doing in the car? Warm blankets and pain. Writhing on the table my confused bruised mind is shallow. Why is Mr. West here? Saying nothing but grimacing and squeezing his hat.

The Ghost looks down the road. I know where he is going. Snowy hillside part way up just beyond the tree. I hesitate but cannot stop. Why are you tormenting me I scream in my mind! Now I want to stop but it’s too late. Pointing toward the grave marker this gray shadow looks at me. With deep heaviness I remember. I was not alone in the car that day. While anger was flowing through my veins sleep was covering my brothers’ outstretched limbs. Now sleep is all he knows.

On my knees crying out, “Dear God, forgive me!  Let me forgive myself! I have changed. Believe me, see me. I have changed. Anger rules me no more.”

Returning to the present, I see my children as they play.They are excited for Christmas so I stand and sing peacefully to them,

“Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright…”

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.”

Ecclesiastes 7:9

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