Ok, so a friend contacted me and asked if I would proofread a book they were working on…part of a series of publications.  This is not exactly Earth shattering since I had proofread all of the previous entries—somewhat proficiently if I do say so myself.  So, this was just another chapter, so to speak, in the series.

To be perfectly honest, the series was an enjoyable one.  It wasn’t one of those boring topics that made proofreading difficult.  In fact, I so approved of the content that I wished I had written it myself.  So, proofreading it was right up my alley.

Yet, when I received this latest entry, something strange happened.  I read part of it, got a headache, went to lie down and then completely forgot about it.  And I don’t mean I forgot about it for a few minutes.  Not for a day or two or even three. I didn’t/couldn’t resume proofreading the book until almost a month later!

In fact, I not only forgot that I was working on this particular proofreading assignment but, I totally forgot about/lost interest in almost everything else I was doing around that same time regardless of the topic!

Unbelievable!  I mean, who does that?

Not me!

But apparently me?

I thought I had gone totally insane until I spoke with my doctor and discovered that, not only was I not insane, but that that response was typical, especially during times of high stress, during moments where we over-extend ourselves, when we’re eating on the fly and/or when we’re eating poorly!

And, boy oh boy, was I high stressed.  In fact, I was four for four on that list!  My doctor explained that I had had so much going on that I simply shut down.  My body and brain just shut down like your computer does sometimes.  And just like with your computer, it can happen right in the middle of whatever it is you’re working on…regardless of whether you’ve saved your work or not.

Were there warning signs, you might ask?

Yes, there were signs.

To be perfectly honest, there were many signs that I, in hindsight, totally ignored.

Not only was I overwhelmed, but I was tired—often very exhausted during the day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was eating whatever I got my hands on and I couldn’t even remember when I had last had a good night’s sleep.

Truth be told, I was totally neglecting myself without even knowing it.  So, my memory, among other things, was suffering.  As a result, my brain protected itself by shutting down.

Isn’t that something?

For me, it felt both good and bad.  On the one hand, it was good to know that I had a backup system already in place to keep me from total destruction. At the same time, however, it felt bad to know that it could kick in without permission.  Although I suppose that’s the beauty of it…not letting me destroy myself by forcing one more task.

Mentally refreshed but a little freaked out, I made a vow to myself.  Next time, I would pay attention to the signs before the crash.  I mean, I would certainly not want to be driving or operating machinery when my brain computer just shut down due to overload.  Changes had to be made.

With that, I promised to take better care of myself. I started doing light exercises and stretches, making better food choices and getting proper rest and relaxation.

And what a difference it has made.

I’ve lost a few pounds, I sleep better and I feel better than I have in a very long time.

Thus my “brain collapse” turned out to be a win-win for me and perhaps for those who commissioned my proofreading services.

Oh, by the way, you’ll be happy to know that I did finally complete that job and other backlogged assignments without further ado.  I was lucky that the author was gracious enough to extend time for me to recover.

My advice: Don’t wait until you fall down to take care of yourself.  It’s unfair to you, to your family, to your friends and really to everyone.

I know it sounds cliché but, before making a vow to be there for others, make a vow to yourself and keep it. I think we can all agree that everything works out better when you’re your best self.

Can anybody hear me?

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Where does the line lie exactly?

Humor me for a moment.

If I walk in front of a speeding bus to demonstrate that I truly believe/am convinced that The Most High God will not let the bus harm me, is that a simultaneous demonstration of strong faith, presumption AND just plain stupidity or just one or two?

Okay, while some are, no doubt, calling it crazy, my guess is, of the listed choices, stupidity is winning in the polls.  Duly noted.

But let’s analyze the scenario for a second.  If He stops the bus from harming me, is that due to my faith or was it perhaps to avoid a hiccup in His own plans for my life?

Is it presumptuous of me to assume that I am, in any way, even remotely integral to any plans He has for His Kingdom or is it strong faith that I believe that I am?

On the flip side, if He doesn’t stop the bus from harming me, is it due to a lack of faith on my part or because it was presumptuous of me to deliberately walk in front of the bus in the first place?  Or was it simply my time to die?

Taking it further, if He doesn’t stop the bus from harming me, is it because I was not integral to His overall plans or because my death in that manner was what was called for to advance the kingdom?  Would it be presumptuous to believe even that?

I know, I know.  This scenario is rather dumb.  But take it other places.  If I apply for this job I think is right for me after praying about it, is that the Spirit moving me or my own voice parroting what I want to hear?  If I go out with this person who just sort of leapt into my path, is that God’s will for me, just coincidence or me leaning into my own wants?  Which part of my decision is faith and which part is me presuming to know God’s plan for me?  And how am I to know the difference?

Now, some people think none of this even matters.  In fact, some don’t even believe in God in the first place.  And others seem to cling to that outdated “old man in the sky” ideology.  The line between faith and presumption (which can also tie into stupidity) may not be important to them, but to those of faith, these questions are the ones we contend with every day.

Sidebar note:  Is this because they don’t have any faith, have too much faith in their own intellect or because they presume that they are correct in their beliefs?

Sidebar to the sidebar note:  I find this to be particularly true with those in higher education!  Somehow, a textbook that changes every year trumps a holy book that doesn’t.

Is it possible to educate yourself (and others) into faithlessness based on the presumption of your correctness?

Should faith ever be based upon your ability to prove to yourself that you could not possibly be incorrect?

Is that contrary to what faith is or is supposed to be?

I’m aware that many others may indeed say none of this really matters but, I think it does!

What if they’re right, you say?  World keeps spinning, sun keeps rising.

But, here’s the thing, what if I am?

Can anybody hear me?

How many times in one day are you bombarded with opportunities to work from home with the promise of earning great pay and benefits, only to find that the job that caught your interest is just an illusion?

What do I mean?

Imagine a job with a description that seems to be exactly what you have been waiting for appears in your inbox.  Although you had searched through a gazillion listings, this particular position seemed to just come out of nowhere.  Just like that, days, weeks, months, years of depression have lifted.  While thanking God, you quickly gather your papers.  Suddenly, there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  You have to get ready.

So, you immediately head over to the site/board/posting with your information in hand.  However, when you attempt to apply for the position, you notice so many other job offers keep appearing.  But, somehow, the specific one you were applying for (you know, the one that caught your eye in the first place) isn’t even listed.  In fact, you can’t find it anywhere on the employment website, even after an exhaustive search.  Isn’t THAT interesting?

Okay, you’re disappointed but, these things happen sometimes.  You can roll with the punches, right?  Never mind the fact that the perfect job you wanted and that was advertised minutes earlier seems to have disappeared into thin air and has left you scratching your head.  You’re willing to apply for a similar position.  After all, you’re talented, versatile and more than a little desperate.  So, you do just that.

To your utter amazement, the description of the next position you’re interested in is almost identical to the position that had initially caught your eye!  Things are looking up for you…again! What more could you ask for?

That’s when you notice that although the title of the new position and the description of duties is almost the same as your initial choice (maybe evaluator changed to specialist), somehow, the pay is what really changed…a lot.  Somewhere between evaluator and specialist, a substantial pay cut resulted.  Unbelievable.

Okay, you’re even more disappointed but you’re a trooper…and you still need a job. Thankfully, you don’t have that many bills, you don’t eat much and if you cut back on foolish or unnecessary spending, you can still make it.  So, you trudge on through the grueling employment process.  You’re now on your way to gainful, full-time employment…from home no less.  Exciting, right?

Wrong!

Upon further review, you now notice that the new position is only part-time so, the benefits (health insurance, profit sharing, etc.), that you were counting on no longer apply.  Thank goodness you’re relatively healthy.  Outside of occasional allergies, you’re as healthy as a horse.

Although this isn’t good news at all, it will have to do for now.  You have résumés all over town.  And while other potential employers aren’t exactly beating down your door, something else is bound to turn up, right?  So, you decide to work this position until something better comes along.  Sounds like a plan?

Until you read the even finer print and discover that the employer pays only once a month using an outdated, antiquated check system (in 2018) with no firm payment date and, if that isn’t enough, charges a you fee for using its website.

You guessed it, this dinosaur of a company is somehow able to retrieve monies from your bank using updated banking withdrawal technology—every month without fail—but pays its employees with checks—actual, outdated checks, not direct deposit—that, in addition to being inconvenient, requires additional processing time to be printed, mailed and then cashed.

Imagine all of that happening at one time.  Or go through it and then you can just remember instead of imagine.

It’s enough to make you quit before you even get hired!

Can anybody hear me?

If you’re like me, you hate to see anyone being mistreated.  If you’re REALLY like me, you hate to see almost ANY living creature (with a special minus on a select few) being mistreated as well.

As such, I am as upset over the recent immigration scandal as anyone else.  However, what really makes me upset is when people become selectively distraught by the sufferings of some while willfully ignoring the sufferings of others.

What do I mean?

It is of a truth that Jewish communities are allowed and even encouraged to remember the misdeeds of one Adolf Hitler.  According to history, he targeted them for destruction over a period of approximately 5 years.  We can safely assume that he is hated by all Jewish persons and, furthermore, that others are taught to revile him as well.

To that end, the Holocaust is taught in detail at every learning institution; at least one film is produced every year recounting their mistreatment; and (and this is the best part) even though they have recovered (quite handsomely, I might add) in the form of a homeland (Israel) and the amassing of extreme wealth, and social and political influence, Hitler remains atop history’s most hated villains list.

Conversely, African Americans, who were kidnapped from their homeland, enslaved in a foreign land, raped, murdered, pillaged, bred like animals and violated in every aspect of their lives, are directed to do the opposite of what Jewish persons are allowed (and even instructed) to do.  Instead of being encouraged to remember (even though it’s impossible to forget an ongoing saga) their historical mistreatment at the hands of an entire race of people (not just one man), African Americans are instructed not to relive their obvious and no less disturbing suffering.  And they are admonished for doing otherwise.

In fact, African Americans, unlike any other group, have to feign adjustment and affection for a hostile political and social system or risk being accused of being hate-filled, unable to move on from the past, and/or of using their history as slaves as an excuse for any lack of success; all of this despite the fact that they continue to reside in the land of their former slavemasters and must continually battle for basic human rights (or even to be left alone to live and work in peace) even in 2018.

If African Americans even discuss (much less make a movie about) the Transatlantic Slave Trade or any of the vestiges of racism, they are shunned.  They are attacked by all sides, even some of their own who think only of their own finances and not the fate of their people.  And on that note, to date, this is the only group that has received no monetary reparations for either their suffering or, in many cases, their contributions to the American economy, history or society.  Never mind that other races of people have received monetary reparations and apologies for race-related misdeeds, if they argue for it, they are just lazy and want something for nothing.

Today, in the face of continued racism, African Americans are supposed to and expected to abandon their own fight for justice to champion the battle that Mexicans and other people of color are experiencing against the same regime that destroyed and oppressed them…in spite of the fact that many of these other people have been, for the most part, silent for the plight of black people.

African Americans are expected to do this even though these same groups of people did nothing to assist them at the height of their mistreatment and, even worse, spoke out against their attempts to redress the balance and pursue justice.

It must be asked: where was the outrage for black people being murdered in the streets, and thus separated from their families by a bit more than a cell wall?  Where was the understanding that the system was flawed and actively working against a group of people to protect the interests of white supremacy?  And where were the unity, calls to action and cries for accountability just a few months ago, when white America was openly complaining that their rights were infringed upon because black people finally understood that their lives mattered?

Do the people who have been calling for assistance and compassion this entire time look like the bad guys in this scenario?  Does it make other peoples of color who are experiencing race related mistreatment the bad guys?  God forbid.  Instead, it should shine an ugly, historical light on the peoples—the same peoples—who are once again destroying the lives of yet another group of people (and people of color I might add).

Can anybody hear me?

For some reason, my emotions have been up and down all month long no matter how much I’ve attempted to concentrate.  It feels like I’ve spent more time focused on being unfocused than I have on refocusing.  Hopefully, that makes sense.

Unfortunately, this blog very much reflects my temporary struggle.  So, my blog for this month, is essentially a blog about a blog that almost didn’t happen.

You see, I didn’t want to write that I feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time, even though that is exactly how I’m feeling.  I didn’t want to write about feeling sad and happy at the same time, even though that would be accurate as well.  Finally, I didn’t want to write that I feel tired and anxious for fear that you probably would not understand, think I was whining or just plain not care.  It just didn’t seem right to blog about feeling like a ball of contradictions.  I mean, I’m aware that everybody feels one or the other of these emotions at any given moment.  But, right now, all of them seem to be competing for attention in the pit of my stomach.

You might be more than a little curious as to how I can feel what seems like conflicting emotions simultaneously?  Don’t worry, I am too.

Despite all that, I decided, at the last minute, to go against my original thoughts and write down every word…regardless of how whiny or confused it may have sounded.

And you know what?  It felt good.

It felt good to admit I was, to quote the song, a ball of confusion.  It was freeing, almost like a release.

However, with that release, I fully understood that I need to either explain myself at some point or be indefinitely relegated to the whiner’s hall of fame.

And since I didn’t want that dubious honor, that knowledge created more stress and an even bigger problem for me.  In fact, it took me right back to the beginning, when I almost didn’t write this blog in the first place.

The problem was simple.  I didn’t want to have to explain myself.  I didn’t want to feel obligated to explain how I can feel all of these emotions at the same time because, I didn’t know if I could.  I didn’t know if I could properly convey on paper what I felt in my head and in my heart.

So, not writing anything down at all seemed like a real solution.  If I didn’t write anything down, there wouldn’t be an issue.  Problem solved, right?

Wrong!

Wrong and more wrong!  You know why?  Because the issues would still be there regardless.

But like I said, after writing it all down, I felt a weight lifted from me almost immediately. It slowly dawned on me that, as crazy as all of this seems, that I’m not alone.  Sadly (or happily as the case may be), somebody out there knows exactly what I’m feeling/talking about.

Somebody out there feels overwhelmed and underwhelmed, happy and sad, tired and anxious, old and young, encouraged and discouraged, fearless and afraid, hot and cold, smart and dumb, loved and unloved, sure and unsure, all at the same time.

And, here’s the thing, that’s okay.  That’s perfectly okay!!  It’s just another aspect of life that people don’t talk about or don’t LIKE to talk about because they want to appear as always together, always sane, and always normal.  But the irony is, if we are honest with ourselves, we can all attest that ‘normal’ can be extremely overrated or underrated just the same…and at the same time.

Can anybody hear me?

In January, I had my yearly mammogram.  Although it was only a routine test, this year I opted to have it done at a new facility—one with state of the art equipment and the promise of less discomfort.  In preparation, I secured my old records from the previous facility and brought them with me.

What can I say about it?

New equipment.  Still uncomfortable.  Whatever.  Done.

A month later, I received a letter from the new facility stating that they were “evaluating my case” and that they would contact me at a later date once completed.

Wait a second!

“My case?” I thought to myself.  What case?  I had a routine test, not a case.  Nevertheless, I managed to shrug it off after opening my electric bill, cable bill, etc.

Admittedly, it’s wasn’t the letter I had been hoping to receive, but I reasoned that it was taking a little longer due to the new facility needing to incorporate old film from an older, more outdated system.  No problem, right?

A month after that, I got another letter.  But it wasn’t the same.  It was one of the letters that no woman ever wants to receive from her mammographer.  It read: “abnormal mammogram/right breast’.

Instead of the “happy letter” that usually comes every year (shortly after the test), this one stated that I needed to come back for “additional tests/surgical biopsy.”  To say I was devastated is an understatement.

Why?

Just two years earlier, I had received a similar letter regarding my left breast.  As it turned out, I had calcification in my milk ducts that required surgical removal.  It was a painful procedure, make no mistake, but I was ever so grateful it had not been cancer, as suspected.

Now, this new letter was discussing possible complications with my right breast.  Would I be lucky enough to get away with evading cancer again?

Already eating away at me was the fact that my maternal Grandma died with breast cancer at 34 years old, when my mother was just a child.  This made it difficult for me to have to tell my mom that my mammogram had come back “bad” again.  I didn’t want to worry her or other family members who had assisted me through the previous ordeal.  So, I kept it to myself.  I figured I would casually bring it up a day or so before the retest.

As fate would have it, the weather refused to cooperate.  Snow fell and, long story short, I missed my retest appointment.  I had to wait another two weeks before retesting.  Right then, I was glad that I had kept the incident to myself.  No one was the wiser…and no one could pull their hair out in the interim.  But, with that, I had nothing but time to pray that Yah would move in my favor.  I ended up telling my family two days before the actual exam.

I finally arrived at the facility to be retested.  I noted quite a few other women there for the same thing.  They too had received the unwanted letter.  Apparently, that was retake day.  One by one, each of us took the retest.  After a battery of tests, additional mammograms/sonograms/xrays, some were cleared while others needed additional testing, biopsies, etc.

In my specific case, it was ruled that the abnormality had been a false alarm.  Nothing showed up on the screens, test, after tests, after test.  Nothing was there.  Nothing!  I was cleared without further ado.  See you next year!  Yah had indeed ruled in my favor.

But, although I was excited, I was muted.  I felt badly for the women who had not been cleared and whose lives would never be the same as a result.  They were in for a journey that I had had a front row seat for with many of my own family members and friends.

For me, it was over.  Instead of going for a surgical biopsy, I could go home.  I could go home.  And, l did just that, rejoicing all the way!  But what about everybody else?  And what about the support they need to get through what’s coming?  What about that?

Can anybody hear me?

As depressing as it is to say, racism/white supremacy is just as rampant today as it has ever been at any time in history.  Granted, it’s not as overt or as outright and widespread as enslavement, but it’s present nonetheless.  More than that, it’s no longer hiding under the veil of civility.

This may not seem like a profound revelation to some but for those who have had to endure this malady from the cradle, while often pretending that they don’t, it’s groundbreaking.

It’s groundbreaking not because it’s so shocking or somehow strange to modern day sensibilities.  Rather, it’s groundbreaking because of the clarity it brings to the everyday existence of the affected parties.

For those above mentioned individuals, the reality that a large portion of white America, as well as a decent sized swath of the rest of the population, considers them to be lesser people answers a lot of the nagging questions they have had about the status of their lives, education, and employment.

For those individuals, it answers the “whys.”  Why are other races of people allowed to prosper?  Why are blacks treated differently from other races?  Why do the cries of black people fall upon deaf ears? Why are black people profiled as criminals regardless of their contributions to society?

Regardless of what is going on in the world or what other races of people are actually committing crimes, somehow, blacks are projected as the race of people that should be feared.

Even though the recent school shooters, church shooters, concert shooters, cinema shooters and mail bombers have all been white males, black males are still seen as the most dangerous threat imaginable.  Somehow, the white males are often presented as loners (not terrorists) and arrested without incident.

Meanwhile, a young father in his grandmother’s backyard with a cell phone was fatally wounded by law enforcement…because the officers suddenly feared for their lives!

The reality of seeing so many people armed to the teeth for fear of black and brown people answers the question of why the police don’t fear for their safety when dealing with white armed males but are afraid of unarmed black males to the point that they are murdered.

It also answers why so many other races of people who see proof of the injustices manage to somehow justify them.

Still, the question must be asked, what’s going on here?

Do white people believe black people are imagining these situations?  Do they see the fight for life as whining?  Complaining about nothing?

Can white people actually justify these situations as fair?  Do they even care?

More importantly, how long can any group think they will get away with these atrocities without repercussions?

Can anybody hear me?

Ok, I need to say this…

I’m so…sooooo tired of makeup companies and their biases.  I mean, supposedly they sell makeup products for black women…but they use the same formulas that they do when making makeup products for white women.

And that’s a problem.

I don’t understand why these mega companies cannot grasp that black women have very different needs when it comes to makeup than white women.  Is it really THAT hard to understand?

I mean it’s Makeup Science, not Rocket Science.  This should be fairly obvious.

Simply stated, white women often choose make up products that provides shine to their skin.  They refer to this shine as a youthful glow.

On the other hand, black women choose makeup products that control or limit shine.  They often incorporate face powder, etc., for a more matte finish.

And that’s ok.  What’s not ok is for companies to pretend that different women don’t have different needs, expectations and requests from their makeup and other products.

Why do black women have to/want to wear the same shiny makeup that white women wear?

At what point do companies that manufacture makeup—and other products in general—realize that different races of people may have differing needs when it comes to product selections?

Sadly, this has been going on for decades now.  It seems as though black women have been forced to more than compromise on every level.  Straighten your hair, stay away from afros, braids or any other “ethnic” hairstyles or be written up as unprofessional and intimidating.  Shave your legs, regardless of whether or not that is necessary for your body’s standard of beauty or be considered ugly and backwards.

In any of a thousand different ways, women of color are pushed into conformity with white standards of beauty.

This should not be.

Now, I’m not suggesting to you that all black women didn’t choose to shave.  My point is, black women were being cited at work and in other professional arenas for not accepting that this way is the only way PERIOD.

Enough already.  Compromising doesn’t seem to be working.  The more black women accept, the more employers, et al., want them to accept.

Now, I realize that there are companies popping up all over the country that specialize in makeup, skin and hair products for women of color.  And that’s as depressing as it is inspiring.  It’s inspiring to see products on the shelves that reflect the diversity of the people.  But it’s upsetting to think that a company has to be black-owned in order to care about black people.

I’m looking forward to the day when racial differences can be respected instead of overrode by someone else’s cultural needs being viewed as THE standard.

Can anybody hear me?

I think I hate men.

No.  That’s not right.

I’m almost sure that I do… but not for the reasons that you might suppose.

I’m not heartbroken over the one that got away.  I’m not recovering from physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a domineering lout.  I’m not even dealing with the aftermath of infidelity.

In fact, there’s actually a lot I love about men.

You see, I love their physiques (obviously).  I love their attitude.  I love how quickly they get over conflicts.  I love how they can thrive in the midst of adversity.  I love how they smell and even how they laugh.

So what’s the problem, right?

The problem (and the reason I hate them)… is their unfair advantage over women.

What do I mean?

Simply stated, I hate how the world treats men differently from women.  I hate how, for some reason, they age differently from women even though they have just as many years under their belts.  An old woman is past her prime; used up.  An old man “still got it.”

I hate how happy they are with themselves even when they aren’t attractive.  Women spend thousands to look their best, fight off the ravages of time and cover any blemishes.  Men will walk around with their guts out, their hair askew and their faces pockmarked and misshapen, fully confident that they can attract a “perfect 10” with little to no effort on their parts.

I hate how they can reset their family/time/body clock by simply marrying someone half their age and having more children.

I know, I know, women can do that too!  However, even here, she is at a distinct disadvantage.  If her much younger man wants children, she may have to birth a baby at a late age even if she already has grown children.  Ignoring that grown children are another animal altogether, carrrying a child is a lot more intensive than watching someone else do it.

Even if the younger man agrees to adopt children, the older woman starts over in the worse way: Diapers, Kindergarten, PTAs, etc.

Again?

Who wants to do that unless you have money and can afford a nanny to help out?

And then there’s the issue of trust involved with that.  Compare the number of single fathers you know to the number of single mothers.  All too often, men have the option of simply walking out, leaving the mother to raise any children alone.

Men don’t even have that as an issue when they marry a young girl. Oftentimes, she hasn’t experienced these things yet and has the energy to keep up with the demands of young children, to say nothing of the novelty and newness of such a thing.

Is it just me or does this seem very unfair?

So, looking back at my previous statement, I guess I really hate men because they have more lives than women.

What does that mean?

It means that, like a cat, they get a seemingly endless number of do-overs.  They can stop and start and restart their body/life clock whenever they like.

Meanwhile, women are in a footrace against that same body/life clock to meet, marry and bear children before they end up as old maids…or raising children well into their fifties and, God forbid, their sixties!

I know, I know.

Women are having babies at older ages, and you always have women who want that life and embrace starting over.  But for the vast majority, getting through with childbearing and rearing and getting back to your own life is the goal.  And they can’t reset the clock whenever they please.  Once their time is up, they’ve essentially expired.

Can anybody hear me?

I’m not going to mince words.  I don’t like Christmas!  In fact, my family doesn’t even celebrate it!   Why, you might ask?  Why would anyone hate a day when you get presents from friends and family members without having to earn them?  Honestly, there are a number of reasons.

When I was a kid, I found myself fooled when people tried to put in my head that you could get anything from your loved ones without doing anything to earn it.  I was further bamboozled by the notion that you could somehow give back to those who give to you.  Hello, newsflash!  That’s not how life works.  You don’t just get anything in life, you have to earn it.  But more than that, just because you’re doing good doesn’t mean that someone is going to notice or reward you for that, nor should that be your main motivation.  Some people need to grow up and realize that.  Don’t get it twisted, I’m not trying to be mean.  Nevertheless, sooner or later, when your kids grow up, so will their minds.  And they will understand a lot more about gifts, behavior, pride and flat out good and bad than you ever expected.

But, I guess my biggest problem with Christmas is the duality in reasons most people give for observing/celebrating Christmas in the first place.  Often, that dissociation ties right into the overall confusion that is Christmas.

What do I mean?

On the one hand, people claim to be celebrating the birth of Jesus. Just think of how many songs and bumper stickers proclaim that “Jesus is the reason…for the season.”  People cite gifts from three wise men (although there is no biblical basis for people assuming there were just three of them) as their reason for exchanging gifts. The day is supposedly sacred unto God.

On the other hand, people seem more interested in Santa Claus, reindeer, gaudily decorated trees and gifts than on any particular religious observance.  They attribute the exchange of gifts as the result of good or bad behavior as judged by Santa himself and make quite the fuss over what they give as a gift vs. what they receive in return.  Now, we can debate religions or beliefs or faith but, NEWS FLASH: Santa doesn’t exist!  And no intelligent person on earth believes that he does.  What kind of parent teaches their children about Santa giving nice people gifts and naughty people coal in their stockings?  How is that helpful to them?  How can you rationalize anything like that?

How is being told that a jolly, fat ass man, dressed in a full-body outfit with a long white beard rides across the entire planet in one evening, on a sleigh driven by flying reindeer, with elves assisting him in dropping gifts down chimneys helpful to anyone in life?

And what do people say when you ask that?

It’s for the children.  It’s just fun for the children.

I’m confused.

Christmas is supposedly about Christ (despite the fact that it is unlikely if not impossible that the person often referred to as Jesus was born at that time), right?  We don’t go to Mass for the children.  We don’t say Grace for the children.  We don’t baptize for the children?  But this one is somehow different.

Look, I don’t have a particular problem with exchanging gifts by individuals on either sides of the Christmas story.  What bothers me are those individuals who blur the lines and find ways to incorporate both schools of thought simultaneously.  It blows my mind to witness people not taking the time to research who Jesus Christ really is or isn’t.  Why are people so nonchalant that they won’t take the time to discover the true origins of Christmas and see how the myths regarding Santa Claus came about in the first place?

How?  How can Christmas be about the birth of Jesus as well as Santa Claus?  How can we obsess about gift giving/receiving and Christmas trees, etc. while simultaneously celebrating the birth of someone who would selflessly surrender his life and comfort without the expectation of receiving anything in return?  More importantly, how can people justify the vast difference in meaning that celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus vs. celebrating Santa creates?

I’m curious…what does Christmas have to do with the birth of Christ?

And how can it teach people, especially kids, about the spirit of giving?

In my opinion, nothing and it can’t!

More distressingly, who even came up with ridiculous indoctrinations, such as the thought of waking up to presents on Christmas morning, making milk and cookies for Santa and hanging up their stockings?  What good does that do for anybody?  Why people would even conjure up such a theory I’ll never know as long as I live.

Granted, as mentioned earlier, there is no proof of Christmas Day being the birthday of Jesus any more than there is any proof of Santa Claus.  However, merging the two with equal importance just seems wrong on so many levels.

Make up your mind.  Make a decision.  Pick one reason or the other for observing the Day, but don’t be greedy and pick both reasons.  Heck, that directly goes against God’s command to either be hot or cold.  In other words, don’t pick the birth of Jesus as your reason for celebrating the Day and then decorate with Christmas Trees, mistletoe, etc. That’s just plain FOOLISHNESS!

Why bother with the mixing and excuses?

You’re just trying to justify something that doesn’t require justification.  You wanna do it, do it! Don’t make more of it than is necessary.  At the same time, what harm would it do to give something just out of the goodness of your heart? You can give gifts to your loved ones anytime!  And I’m not just talking about material items.  That’s my two cents.

Can anybody hear me?