I realize that I said in a previous piece that I’ve tried to ignore Christmas the past few years. And it’s true, I have. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t used the day to enjoy myself and/or celebrate togetherness with those I love. My girlfriend, Chelsey, and I had a wonderful Christmas together, in fact, filled with good food, drink, and holiday music. We even watched “White Christmas” on Netflix. And later in the afternoon, her sisters came over, effectively doubling the love and togetherness!
What I try to ignore is the crass commercialism and arrogant religiosity of the holiday. It comes as no surprise to me that this is the time of year with the highest suicide rate, having lived through the overbearing Christmas experience for so many years. We must celebrate. We must exchange gifts. We must buy the latest great item. We must square this with the birth of a god. And we must be happy about it. And any deviation makes you a Grinch, or a Scrooge, or otherwise worthy of contempt, for it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
So we did our best to ignore the usual pressures of the holiday, and did things our own way. This, in part, involved making presents for each other instead of going out to buy stuff.
I received a lovely beard oil set, the concoction of which Chelsey made herself (with a special thanks to Pinterest). Just last weekend, I was remarking how I really should put more care into my beard after pointing out a beard oil that my brother uses. This is partially a present for Chelsey, as she seems to prefer a slightly smoother, nicely fragrant beard on me, if I’m going to have one at all.
Today’s post is happening in part because of Chelsey herself. After reading the poem I wrote and framed for her, she noted that it would be a great piece to post on this blog. And she’s quite right; given the theme of the poem, it might be tough find a better example to share on a blog dedicated to literary humanism. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
The Secret to Eternal Happiness
When a man asked, “What is the secret
to eternal happiness?” the sage replied,
“There is no secret?” asked the man,
incredulous of the tight lipped sage.
“There is no eternal,” the sage replied.
Some time later, still reeling from
the less than satisfactory visit to the sage,
the man gathered his crucial belongings
and set out on another dangerous journey.
the wisdom of the ages would be less fickle.
had passed, and the man was no closer
to his ultimate truth. A world of land
and sea had drifted slowly beneath him.
And yet nothing. Only the phrase,
“There is no eternal” stuck with him.
Beyond that, he had otherwise forgot why
he set out.
But it didn’t matter. He was happy to search.
– By Nathan W. Bergstedt for Chelsey Jo Johnson, with all my love and happiness