God, its me; scrooge! I am sorry! Forgive me?

The big guy must be a little sick and tired of listening to me lately, more so listening to me complain and shout at him, sometimes screaming and crying to be honest.

I know its a tough time of year for many people, I am unfortunately one of those people. How many times have I been called Scrooge??  No clue, but we can be sure its far too many to track.

This is not a pity party for Mike, I am not looking for sympathy about my childhood/life. OK???  It is what it is and I have always said, and continue to say that overall,  I had a very blessed and wonderful childhood.

Having said that, we were pretty poor my entire childhood.  Not piss broke poor eating bread and water but, money was very very tight.  As kids we mostly got everything we ‘needed’ but rarely the things we truly ‘wanted’.  There wasn’t much to get excited about when it came to gifts in my tiny village on the morning of December 25th.  I never had cool clothes, toys and we never ate out.  My ‘sneakers’ were bought from a supermarket, no brand names could be afforded.  I went out to dinner with my parents once as a child, when I was 15.  We went on one holiday/vacation, 1 week in Wales when I was 14.  The big annual treat each year would typically be a birthday celebration lunch at BK.

Christmas motivated me on 2 fronts as a child.

I look back now with shame that neither was centered around Christ.  I couldn’t,  I wouldn’t and, I even flat out refused to make him the ‘reason for the season’.  This time of year would mean more than usual singing/caroling commitments and events at the church.  My family were not church attendees, nor enforced regular Sunday church attendance on us kids.  However, through my choir enjoyment at school, I had been offered the chance to sing in a rather prestigious and hugely popular Church of England vicarage.  I was utterly thrilled!  Since I was too young for my voice to have ‘broken’, I guess you could say I was able to sing with a certain amount of innocence and purity.  I truly enjoyed singing when this endeavor first knocked on my door.

Oh yes sorry, the Christmas motivations I mentioned………

The first, was Christmas day dinner at my nan’s house.  This entailed as much food as we could eat, and it was bloody good food too.  And I don’t mean, it was just prepared and cooked well.  I mean, it was also good quality food.   ‘Proper’ ham!  Not some processed, packaged crap.  Off the bone of a real, once living pig type of ham.  Ham that I now buy freely at the supermarket any time I want.   YOU ARE THINKING regular sandwich ham, and you would be correct but, as a kid it was a once a year treat for my siblings and I.  —  The second was the Christmas gifts from my grandparents.  Looking back, I think they were financially stable, perhaps even well off.  Either way the gift I received off them each year was always something I wanted, not something I needed.  I really treat, a true luxury gift you could even say.  As I got older, the gift would change to cash! Cold hard, I can do with what I want cash!!!

Unfortunately with things that were going on in my childhood, trying to find my way in the horrific young world I had been introduced to.  Mixed with the lack of razzmatazz over the 25th, this was a time of year I ached to be over as quickly as possible.

Fast forward 30 years, as a combat veteran and a somewhat ‘new’ husband, this time of year now has additional struggles which I am sure many of you can relate too.  Some of them I have brought on myself and others are ……………..situational I guess.  PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares don’t take a break simply because the fat guy in a red suit is getting ready to devour any left over cookies.  I spend time remembering those who didn’t make it back to enjoy the festivities this time of year delivers.  I spend time going over my own deeply depressing fuck ups.

God, forgive me for having a cold heart this time of year.  I offer you the hatred and misery that creeps into my soul each December.  Help me embrace it, enjoy it and be a joyful happy bloke to be around.  Take away the pain, hurt, guilt, shame, disappointment and embarrassment Christmas often fills me with.  My wife is full of such wonderful holiday spirit Lord and it IS infectious.  Help me to open my eyes, heart, mind and body to the wonders she always brings to my life during this time.  At the very least Father, I ask that you not make my issues become a burden to her or anyone else.

I have already been called scrooge a handful of times this December, and that’s ok.  I am currently the Grinch who wants to live alone on top of mountain every December.  Having said that, I am happy to feel a little ‘Whoville spirit’  inside.

Even the Grinch can be his brothers’ keeper!


Author: Michael Owen

I'm from England and moved to the US in my mid 20's. I served in the US Army for 8 years and deployed over seas 3 times between 2006 and 2013. I'm now 39 and am married to a wonderful, beautiful woman from Massachusetts. She has been my rock during some very dark personal struggles with my combat PTSD and continues to support me daily! We recently relocated to Texas with our pup! I work for the federal government and am a die hard Manchester United fan!

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