HALF PAST PRETTY

Halfway There Starting Right Here

Susan Creamer Joy

Susan Creamer Joy
Location
Paris, Iowa,
Birthday
September 30
Title
Retired Domestic Space Cadet/Current Arbiter Of Midlife Dysfunction
Company
Not often
Bio
Artist, Poet, Writer, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Lover, Seeker, Follower, Listener, Communicator, Found, Forgotten, Sainted, Sinner, Struggling, Sentient, Surviving...So far, so-so....... Unless otherwise noted, all of the artwork accompanying these posts was created by and is the property of the artist.

MY RECENT POSTS

Susan Creamer Joy's Links

MY LINKS
Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 13, 2010 8:57AM

Until It Is Christmas, Again

Rate: 59 Flag

 

And so it is Christmas, again.  

 

Depending upon where you live the winds may have grown decidedly colder with front porches and backyard patios forced to shed their hospitable design. 

 

From the facing window at my drawing table, I look out and see the wrought iron furniture laced with icy tendrils of frozen white, as if they were spun to crystalized symmetry by some Nordic god.  

 

Still,  I have no desire to linger under the sky in this blue cold.

 

The snow-laden clay pots, stacked against disorder in a dormant corner of the yard, hold the grayed, brittle remnants of summer's blooms; and seeing them I am drawn to consider the benefits of hibernation and the power of seasonal glee as it arises through music and song. 

 

There are only a handful of Christmas songs I look forward to hearing-Songs whose notes resonate with an earlier version of my life and can entice my heart to linger a while amidst the memories of simpler days .  

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas is perhaps my favorite, and I willingly revel in the sentimental chords that place the wounds of the present into festive, wrapped boxes decorated with bells and bows and delivers them to a place where I am able to open them as the gifts that they inherently are.

 

I know that there is no such thing as useless suffering if wisdom is valued above discomfort.  The dual meaning of the word present is not lost on me in this season or in any other.  It is a gift I wish I could help more people understand and accept and one whose value I must continually reassess myself.  

 

Still, it is not hard to become morose when caught in the lyrical grip of Silent Night or The Christmas Song while your own nights may feel anything but silent, and far from helping to make the season bright, a turkey and some mistletoe only remind you of those who are missing from the table and why.

 

But that is the perfect time to open one of those festooned boxes of unresolved emotion and try it on for size.  Turning ill-fitting grief into a bright garment of resolution and illumination is the most incredible gift you can own; and once it is yours, you have the option of re-gifting that wisdom to someone else.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

And so it is Christmas, again.

 

A few days ago I stumbled upon an old home video.  It was taken by my husband on a Christmas morning sixteen years ago and featured the very young editions of my three children.  At first I watched it with bemused interest, laughing at the stridency of my youngest who at age three was already managing our household with the conviction of a five-star general and at the lithe and dreamy character of my middle daughter and her relentless determination to float above the chaos of the morning bundled in little more than optimism and her new sweater.

 

What parent would not be moved by the delight of an enchanting moment held in the celluloid grasp of a better time?

 

Then the camera panned to my son.  At twelve years old he struggled mightily to subdue his obvious elation at the gift he received of a pair of roller blades, no doubt believing that because he stood on the precipice of his teens, any marked outburst of joy would betray the serious estate of young adulthood.  

 

But however much he tried to neuter his outward response he could not conceal the truth of it in his eyes, and as the camera lens closed in upon them, I saw what I have not seen in them for the better part of the past ten years.  I saw happiness and I saw peace.

 

As the camera recorded him eagerly fitting his feet into those cumbersome wheeled boots, my mind quickly flashed to the young man today where he resides in a state penitentiary and to the addiction, diffidence and collapse of integrity and hope that brought him there one ill-fated choice at a time.  

 

Immobilized and almost unable to breathe I stood before the television screen and watched the grace and strength of his movements as he exercised his new gift in the driveway along with his sisters; the three of them laughing with the unbridled giddiness known only to the young as they circled the lumbering body of our ever-patient Newfoundland, Frodo.  

 

It is difficult to imagine such darkness could evolve from what seemed such brilliantly privileged beginnings.  Privileged not in wealth or in trappings but in love and belief - in family and intentions.  

 

Yet it can and it did, and as long as he has remained in this state of broken, these sentimental songs of Christmas have not been easy to hear.

 

But some part of my soul still craves them, and I have to assume that it is the same part that holds out hope for a happy ending; the part that is willing to unwrap these pretty boxes of pain and model the contents until they fit like velvet robes of acceptance and peace.

 

The part that thrives in every season and simply will not give up-

 

Until it is fully Christmas, again.

 I know I am not the only one jousting with a few dark gods this holiday season.  Here's to finding that the best days are only an attitude away.

Merry Christmas, One and All! 

 

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
"holds out hope for a happy ending" Does it help to know at this moment, I feel your pain, your longing and your needs? My wishes for a happy ending, to the proud, patient talented woman who wrote this lovely piece. hugs r
Christmas is so full of nice memories as you gain in age and the reflections of those moments is priceless.
You continue to inspire us and we are blessed for having such an awesome inspiration among us. Thank you, Susan, for doing what you do best. Your artwork reflects upon tidbits of your live and because you are so completely openhearted, I am reminded that life goes on.

It's people like you, Susan, who keep the light shining. Thank you.
I love you Susan that is all I can say.
HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
This is so sad and poignant. So many of us are going through some very difficult times but still hold on to that last shred of hope for a happy ending. You are a gifted writer and artist. Merry Christmas to you and yours. -R-
With your elegantly crafted sentences, you have put Christmas in perspective for all of us. It's about the joy of the family that's present and the pain of the family that isn't. Much love to you and yours, Susan.
Rated. I'll come back again, dear Susan.
Christmas can bring back the good and bad memories. A time for thoughtful recollections. Merry Christmas my friend!
Thanks for the Christmas cheer. Your artwork at the top is magnificent. God blessed your hand.
i marvel at people like you, susan, who have this bottomless well of hope, who continue to believe that better outcomes are possible. this piece is the epitome of your quiet goodness, and it's just beautiful. i'm picturing you, making your amazing art, listening to the music.
Wonderful, Susan. Love how you remind me of the essence of being a "smaller edition of oneself" over the holidays. It really does bring back one's memories of childhood, both glee and solitude, building through the years...the construction zone of our lives. Enjoy your family this Christmas and many more to come.
Hope is patience with the lamp lit ~Tertullian

One of my favorites is O Holy Night and my view out the window today is dead brown plants and grass, crushed under 19 degree weather in the night. I'd rather have snow!
As always, Susan, you've captured your thoughts so poignantly and, in doing so, once again, you've captured my heart. Keep holding on to that well of hope. You've said it so well - "until it is fully Christmas again.
xoxo
Kim
You really do have a way with words and gifted you truly are.
Ah, how painful it must be to try to celebrate anything without him. I hope the fond memories of Christmas with your young innocents will be enough to get you through this Season, again.

I am mesmerized by the eyes on that old woman in your painting. You really have a talent for putting real life in the faces.

Lezlie
Keep yourself warm, both inside and out.
You are well loved by all - there is no doubt,
that long-recalled joys are merely a sign,
of future splendid Christmas times.
Yes, Susan, Christmas is not a "Hallmark" card and I think most of us are wishing for Christmas to fully come. It gives us hope. But you, my, dear, can say it like no one else. Merry Christmas!
This is good on so many levels, Susan: the finely etched imagery, the snatches of lyricism, the seamless move from the literal to the figurative, the idea of regifting wisdom, your determination to work through and find meaning in the season-induced memories, the aching uplift of it all. This was moving and elegant and poignant.
Beautiful. I LOVE your art and your sentiments. I especially loved this, "I know that there is no such thing as useless suffering if wisdom is valued above discomfort." The holidays can be such a source of suffering and I always heave a sigh of relief when it is over for the many people I know and work with who gut their ways through this time. Thank you for sharing this.
Once again, brilliantly written. To take you out of the morose holiday spirits, might I suggest a listen to that holiday classic from The Kinks, "Father Christmas":

When I was small I believed in Santa Claus
Though I knew it was my dad
And I would hang up my stocking at Christmas
Open my presents and I'd be glad

But the last time I played Father Christmas
I stood outside a department store
A gang of kids came over and mugged me
And knocked my reindeer to the floor

They said:
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Don't give my brother a Steve Austin outfit
Don't give my sister a cuddly toy
We don't want a jigsaw or monopoly money
We only want the real McCoy

Father Christmas, give us some money
We'll beat you up if you make us annoyed
Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys

But give my daddy a job 'cause he needs one
He's got lots of mouths to feed
But if you've got one, I'll have a machine gun
So I can scare all the kids down the street

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas
Have yourself a good time
But remember the kids who got nothin'
While you're drinkin' down your wine

Father Christmas, give us some money
We got no time for your silly toys
Father Christmas, please hand it over
We'll beat you up, so don't make us annoyed

Father Christmas, give us some money
Don't mess around with those silly toys
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over
We want your bread, so don't make us annoyed
Give all the toys to the little rich boys
beautiful reflections here. I look at my grandchildren now and wonder. If it was a good thing for us to know futures, we would. I do believe we all can have the ultimate happy ending when we learn and grow from challenges & become who we were created to be.
Love and peace to you and all your family.
I wish you a heart full of hopefulness and a continuation of your optimism that has brought you far in your life. So much we can't control. So much that weighs on our hearts. I wish you peace this Christmas. R
Merry Christmas Susan : )
You are such a beautiful and talented person, I wish only the best for you, this Christmas and every one to come.
rated with love
Susan, I was with you all the way. I saw your children each one so different, yet happy. God this is so good. Really brilliant writing.
I meant to say how good your painting is as well. I just noticed the band aids on the tail of the kite, the storm clouds brewing. When I first looked at it, I didn't see the rip in the quilt, just the happy parts. Wow. so powerful.
Your son is in a dark place right now, and he is going to have to find his own way out, without your help. But know that somewhere in his heart, he carries these happy memories too.

I wish you peace this holiday season.
Thank you for your open heart and candid sharing of your life. Excellent post and one that reveals that one gift (writing/art) has indeed emerged through your suffering - "I willingly revel in the sentimental chords that place the wounds of the present into festive, wrapped boxes decorated with bells and bows and delivers them to a place where I am able to open them as the gifts that they inherently are." Plato said that pain restores order to one's soul.
You have written: "I know that there is no such thing as useless suffering if wisdom is valued above discomfort. " This, I believe, is a maxim worth living by.
Brilliantly done as always.
May a new Christmas memory brighten the whole heart of your family, and may your son soon find release form his misery with new life ahead to enjoy.
Rated
Poignant and generous of you to think of others going thru the holidays witha pain in their heart. i hope it will be fully christmas soon
Those videos and memories must be both heartwarming and painful. It's hard hand our hearts to our children, knowing they'll be careless with them -- and yet what else can we do? I know you still see promise in his face and that you have hope for his future. My hope is that you get another chance to videotape his happiness.
"Privileged not in wealth or in trappings but in love and belief - in family and intentions."

Beautifully expressed.
Many Christmas heartaches today on OS, poignantly written, congrats on EP Susan, I am sure you have reached many today that also find the holidays a sad and trying time.
I too always hold out for a happy ending. Susan, your words and paintings are treasures. I just got here and saw your beautiful artwork on the cover and knew I was in for something special. ~r
Poignant, and beautifully written as always. I do hope that you receive abundant blessings during this holiday season. Rated with hugs.
Lovely.
Best Wishes,
Blittie
hey, lovely one.
such a beautiful piece of mixed emotions.
thinking aloud for all of you from here
x ( so good to see your card on the cover )
Poignant post beautifully written. I love the hope you offer at the end: " Here's to finding that the best days are only an attitude away."
I know I am not the only one jousting with a few dark gods this holiday season. Here's to finding that the best days are only an attitude away.

.... Here, here!

Bless you. Merry Christmas, Susan.
blessings on your journey, suze. by whatever means, you keep yourself in some kind of balance. i loved the "velvet robes of peace"
You are an amazing artist and writer. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your heart today........Rated.
Susan, I hope you, your son and family find some comfort and joy this season. With you as a guiding light, how could they not? Peace, love & good will. xo p.s. I especially love the bottom painting it has the childlike look my mother sometimes had near the end of her days.
I can understand why this season of the year is not one of unadulterated joy for you, Susan. Viewing that video must have been so bittersweet for you.

I hope, even with the troubles on your mind, that something happens THIS year that will bring you some real Christmas joy.

Rated
Came back to savor the beauty of your words, generosity of your heart, wisdom of your thoughts and the love you share - and to say that I hope it wil be fully Christmas soon. Wishing you peace and much love, Susan.
You really have a special talent for writing. I know part of that comes from your ability to recognize and name how you feel...Merry Christmas to you and your family...
Your artistry never fails to astonish and inspire me - THANKS, Susan!!
And I MEAN it - sorry for the triple comments - delete a couple of them if you like.... Fingers are about FROZEN to the keys!!!
Jousting with dark Gods goes hand in hand with living on this planet, and for some of us, it is a more fierce battle than for others.
None the less, we all joust from time to time, and to those who do, the opportunity becomes the improbable wins that occur from time to time, where meaning and reason collide with opportunity and fate to produce nothing short of miracles!
I wish these miracles for you this Christmas my friend. We chat from time to time, and I have always envisioned you as one to whom the fates might play their magic.
Never stop believing in what could be Susan.

And never stop writing and placing your amazing art where all can see. You have a gift of the Gods.

r-
Until it is fully Christmas, again..... Hugz
We are all hoping and holding out a little for a happy ending this Christmas, whether it is reliving the past or creating a future that hasn't yet happened, it is what we hope for. Best wishes to you and your family.
It's the nostalgia of Christmas that gets to me, too. I am wiping away a little tear for you. There are more beautiful Christmases to come in your life, I am certain of that.
What can I say? This is sad but beautifully written, Susan. I hope he heals. Soon.
Beautifully written, sad but hopeful. An amazing post, and one that points out sorrowfully and gratefully that we are always in flux, that nothing is fixed, and that life can change in a flash from good to ill and back again, and does. What a writer you are. I just loved it. Now I need some Christmas music too.
I really honor you for writing as much of the whole truth as a person can. It isnt easy. Wishing you much love in any situation.
Oh honey this is so sad! I hope your baby don't read this! It probably break his heart to see his mama so upset and telling everybody! You got to love your babies even when they mess up. I love your pictures!
This is so poignant. May you have a peaceful and happy Christmas, Susan.
Thank you for this deeply Susan, attitude adjustment has just been received. You never know how God and Santa can speak to you. Today, it was through you. Especially...

"I willingly revel in the sentimental chords that place the wounds of the present into festive, wrapped boxes decorated with bells and bows and delivers them to a place where I am able to open them as the gifts that they inherently are."
Susan, I am very saddened to read of what happened to your son. The contrast of that wonderful Christmas day video and what happened years later is a very troubling story and I send my best wishes to you and your family.
Susan, you have truly come upon the meaning of Christmas. I will keep the image of wrapping oneself in the cloak of grief for the rest of my days. I have been thinking of acceptance so much lately, and how important it is to accept all of life, not just the picture perfect moments, but the moments of pain and sorrow because sometimes those moments are where we find the most clarity. Thank you so much!
Brilliant, awesome, poignant, inspiring...I could go on. Susan this is such a lovely piece and although I am not a mother and I cannot imagine what you must be going through, I feel for you.

Beautiful artwork as always. I love to stop and gaze at it and notice all the details.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and a Healthy, Happy New Year
Every parent cell in me vibrates with this. Thank you for writing it.