Friday, December 19, 2008

Stress - the gift that keeps on giving

I am afraid that holiday stress coupled with the ever-increasing amount of snow is quickly turning me into a version of Scrooge. Funny enough, that was always the Christmas story that gave me the most nightmares: when I was growing up, I used to think the three ghosts were going to come for me.

I blame this on my Catholic upbringing.

What other religious denomination trains children from early on to be so acutely aware of their sins and guilt – before they even really exist? How *else* could an 8 or even 10 year old child draw the conclusion that he or she is some how on the same spiritual level as an elderly man who accrued a lifetime of miserly misdeeds?

Thank you, Sr. Mary Beth and Fr. Ed.

Another side affect of my Catholic education is the long held the belief that I am going to hell.

There were a few short, fleeting years when all of the nuns were talking about how much Jesus loved the little children, and how everyone must be like little children to enter into the Kingdom of God. I fell into the "little children" category at this time, so I felt (at this time and at this time only) my spot in Heaven was safe. I dreaded the day when I would no longer literally be a "child" of God. Then I would have the heavy burden of a life riddled with adult problems and sin; and of course, a one-way ticket to the land of fire and brimstone.

Which brings us to present day and the adult stresses that are keeping me from enjoying the holiday season and those really great gifts that *God* has given me in my life thus far. I don't know why my enjoyment of the good things in my life must always be tainted by the possibility that they might come to an end.

My gift to myself this holiday season is a promise to make the most of the good things that come to me, accept them graciously, and enjoy them without fear, suspicion and doubt. Merry Christmas to me!


trish t. said...

I think you harbor the same sorts of feelings as a lot of people, regardless of religious background: waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, Catholicism seems to really sock it to a person. My religious upbringing focuses on living well and believing in God and his right-hand man. You are one of the most sincere and devoted people I know. Even if you fear for your soul at times, I do not.

Oh Hai said...

Hear, hear!