My Christmas Tree!
Every year, even as a single person, I decorate and put up a Christmas tree. Last year I was having a bit of a difficulty getting into the Christmas spirit. After a brief visit with one of my principals, on a casual and friendship basis, she said, "Oh come on Godwin! It's Christmas! Everybody decorates on Christmas! You have to!" So, given that bit of inspiration and encouragement I went home and I decorated.
I'm reminded of a Christmas- if I remember correctly, it was the Christmas of 1988. I was still in my addictions. You know, still drinking and partying and partaking in the other things that go along with this type of lifestyle- and although I didn't give it a full heart of acknowledgement, living in a world of brokenness, heartache, and pain. Given however, the appearance of stability in my life with work and looking after myself, no one knew the fullness of the brokenness and pain that I really lived in- the loneliness. This which was becoming more real as I sat in the quiet, dark corners of my room- alone- with just a glass of rum and coke in hand and a narcotic to induce a perceived sense happiness. When people spoke of me they spoke very highly and always had nothing but great things to say about me. Sometimes I'd just stare at them and the people they were introducing me to, and thought, "If only you knew the truth..." (Thinking on my loneliest moments and the amount of time I spent alone...and the many nights I was beginning to cry myself to sleep- and I never really understood why, or what was happening.) Going into this particular Christmas Season I thought I'd try something different. Come my Christmas break- for the one week before Christmas, I would not touch a drop of alcohol nor take any drugs of any kind. For the week, I would stay clean and sober.
I was searching for the experience of the old "Dick and Jane" books that we used to read in elementary school many, many years ago. The big beautiful house with the white picket fence, who, with the family at Christmas was a time always filled with merriment, happiness, and joy. Who, when they decorated and put up their tree, did so on Christmas Eve and Christmas was always a magical time of the year. This is how I remember the Dick and Jane books: family, love, togetherness, and magic. I thought as I told my girlfriend Phyllis, "I just want to see if there really is such a thing as Christmas magic; therefore, I have decided not to drink or drug this Christmas holiday. I want to keep myself clean and open to anything that might possibly happen." I further said to her, "Do you remember those old Dick and Jane books we used to read in elementary school, come Christmas, it was always a magical time of the year? Well, I'm not going to decorate until Christmas Eve...and see, if it really is magical."
Many hours later the decorations were all up. Phyllis' daughter had left to meet some friends. Phyllis and I sat on my couch and stared at the fully decorated ceiling. It was beautiful, vibrant, and alive. The red, gold, green, and silver garlands accentuated by hanging glass globes at the end, emanated the beauty of Christmas. More glass globes, shiny, and of the most vibrant of colors, in various sizes were bundled together and hung between the sparkling garlands at various lengths. There were balloons, also in bundles and the brightest of colors, perfect in size to give the feel of a party flare. It was beautiful. It was late and Phyllis was tired. Rather than make the trip back to her home she decided to spend the night. It was about eleven o' clock. She invited me to bed but I declined, as I just wanted to sit and admire the beautiful Christmas decorations. Christmas music was playing low on my stereo, with a panel that lit up with red and green lights and added to the beauty of what was turning into an amazing Christmas Eve.
Phyllis was asleep in the bedroom, and in the peace of the night- I had fallen asleep on the couch- face down, laying on my stomach. There was no one else around; no one else in the apartment. It might have been around 1:00 am.
Suddenly, as if a huge, warm, droplet of sunshine had fallen on me- I was awakened to a very soft, beautiful, touch...on the top of my head. It was real; it was tangible: it was a physical touch.
My eyes opened and I can not even begin to describe the beauty and the warmth that began to flow through me. From the top of my head and as it flowed very tangibly and noticeably through my body- it sat me up. It flowed it seemed a section at a time as I could physically track its path through me- through each body part. As it flowed it became warmer and warmer. A beauty that at one time I could have only imagined. It seemed to melt me as it flowed; my tears began to flow. I began to cry. Not a sorrowful, hurtful cry, or that of self-pity. It was a cry, a gentle weeping of something extraordinarily beautiful: a cry that I'd finally found something that I had been searching for all of my life: Magic. As the experience continued I heard so loud and clear in my spirit, "It is the time..." Repeatedly, in my spirit, the phrase echoed, "It is the time..."
Phyllis awoke to my soft, gentle cry, and came out from the bedroom. She knelt before me, and holding my hands asked me if I was okay. I said, "I'm fine. I just had the most incredible experience ever. I can't fully describe it in all its beauty, but it's amazing." I told her in full detail about the touch, the warmth, the beauty and the voice. Through tears, and already in the great expectation of life, hope, and joy- I told her, "And in my spirit, I keep hearing the phrase: it is the time."
She smiled at me that amazingly beautiful smile that if you could see an angel smile- you'd think she was an angel; her eyes too matched the beauty of her smile with a slight sparkle that exists in the eyes of angels. In her soft, compassionate and loving voice, she said, "He knows you're ready. God knows you're ready," and left it at that.
Thus marked the beginning of my "Incredible journey toward wellness; my incredible journey toward healing; my incredible journey toward love."
Christmas Magic? It does exist; I found it...
Sincerely, Godwin H. Barton