We all know A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge is this cancerous, miserly, and absolutely awful human being who spreads his coldness to others as often as possible while he grows his own wealth. Jacob Marley, his old, dead business partner visits him and warns him about the heavy outcome his current life will have. Scrooge doesn’t give a flying leap.
Three ghosts come. The ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to see past Christmases where his heart was slowly turned from happiness to dark sludge because of so many hard moments. The ghost of Christmas Present then takes him to see people’s lives when he isn’t around, particularly Bob Cratchit, who has a crippled son. Scrooge learns just how filled with sludge his own heart is, he realizes that everyone is fighting their own great battles, and then who shows up? The ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This is one mother f***er you don’t mess with but he’ll mess with you. He takes Scrooge to see his own funeral (that’s kind of morbid, Dickens, but awesome) and he overhears all the horrible ways people view him. He wakes up in his own bed, is the best person in the whole world, and goes about spreading wonderfulness to everyone.
Like I said, we all know the story.
And I was sitting there watching, feeling all curmudgeony myself for some reason, and I got to thinking. Why have I never “Scrooged me?” I mean, I’ve seen this story in movies with humans, and movies with Muppets, and satirical remakes of this story. I’ve read the book. I’ve seen it acted out as plays. I’ve enjoyed the story as an essential part of Christmas, in one form or another, every year. But, I’ve never Scrooged myself. And something while watching Scrooged made me want to dig into myself to see just why and how I feel so many of the things I do. Dickens tied everything into different Christmases, but the message is far more profound than that, and Christmas itself really has nothing to do with it.
The next day, I sat down, and I wanted to have some fun, and instead I wrote… this.
I really wasn’t going to share it, but I decided it was such a powerful personal exercise for my own life (I’ve thought about it a lot since I wrote it) that I’d share it with all of you and ask you… have you ever Scrooged yourself?
This is obviously fictional, though I was basing the fiction on very real points in my life. The whole thing came out much longer than this, but this is the portion I am willing to share… Unedited. Exactly as I wrote it.
December 04, 2014
I was visited by three ghosts last night. Wait. What?! Yeah. It’s true.
I could barely believe they would come to me, even after my oldest and once dearest friend showed up in a dream and told me that I had let things get too heavy in my life, and that I would never be happy in the long term if I didn’t make some personal changes in the way I did things and in how I looked at people. He told me that three spirits would be visiting me to help me get things back into perspective. I told him I was just fine and happy enough, thank you very much.
The first ghost did show up, and introduced herself simply as the Ghost of My Life Past. The rest of the hours with her were spent watching me and people in my life as we were then. She took me through time and into my childhood home. I was a happy and thriving child in that home. My siblings and I were running through the house, screaming with delight, bickering and laughing the way siblings do, and so trusting of the world around us. Dad would grump at us to pipe down once in a while. Later he’d grab us and tickle us.