For our troops to be in far-off lands at times like the Christmas season is a very lonely prospect indeed. Every soldier would rather spend time during the holidays in different ways but usually it would be with family, friends, and yes, maybe even lovers. The holiday season can be a very depressing time for many people as well. It is the time of year when it’s often cold, nothing is growing, jobs are being eliminated or hours cut so paychecks are smaller or non-existent, the shortest day of the year happens at this time of year. How does anyone, much less a soldier, maintain an even keel in a time like this?
I think one of the main things to remember is that even 10 minutes ago is history. The next few minutes are the future and as bleak as the past few minutes were, there are just as many minutes ahead and there are even more after that. In short, everyone has the prospect of hope in their future. Look for things to cheer you up. It’s at times like these that the little things in our world can brighten our spirits. Don’t think, “Poor me,” but rather, look at what others do that seems rewarding in their lives and enjoy the moment for them and then a little of their joy may rub off on you, if you’re feeling down or depressed in some way. I think this is one reason why adults enjoy seeing a child see Santa Claus. They vicariously are taking pleasure along with the child and that lifts their spirits as well. People enjoy the Nutcracker Ballet for many reasons. One reason is that it’s lighthearted for the most part, but at the end, it concludes on a note of optimism as the two main characters leave the stage looking to the future with all the optimism of young lovers all over the world. Churches are all telling the story of Christ’s birth and Christmas carols do likewise, for the most part. Christ’s birth is the reason we have Christmas in the first place, not for the huge percentage off sales at some department store.
It may be this feeling of depression that subconsciously drives people to the movies, especially at this time of year. The movies give people a chance to escape into a make-believe world, if for only a moment, and they can collect their psyche a little bit, just enough to be able to carry on with life, whatever that is to them.
I’ve read that in Russia, people go into rooms filled with fluorescent light for periods of time to recharge their psyche as the dark days of winter cause so much depression in people. Unfortunately, many depressed people tend to isolate themselves from others so it becomes important to be aware of this trait and stay focused on people around you as well. You can also help others to pull themselves out of this feeling of depression. Incorporate others in your festive happenings.
If you are able to do so, go out and buy a birdfeeder. Then watch the seeming joy that the little birdies seem to exude as they consume the seed you’ve put out. As they are feeding, they look around for safety reasons but they look all the world like they are looking for whoever it was who was their benefactor by placing all that delicious seed for them to consume. Take pleasure in the little things and it will bring pleasure to you as well as anyone who needs it as well. Enjoy the moment.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.