Digging Out in the Name of Love by William Klein

This Christmas was cold! The thermometer said it was 0 degrees, and, with the wind, it was minus 20. That’s pretty cold and bites right down to the bone. We have bushes in front of our house and for some reason the whipping, swirling winds created a vortex that left a four-foot drift in front of our house. There’s a tree in the front, so the drift created a perfect wall between the tree and bushes. I looked around at other neighbors’ houses and saw that there was no snow on their drives, and it was easy for them to get out.

I shoveled the day before but to no avail, as the snow came back in spades. It’s as if Mother Nature was saying “Nice job shoveling out, how’s this hit ya?”  We were determined to get out for Christmas to be with the ones we love, but the snow was heavy. Of course, being the first snow of the season, the snowblower wasn’t working. It was too high anyway, so we had no choice but to dig. 

As I was digging, I metaphorically reflected on the obstacles from the year. Although we’ve come a long way in vaccinating the population, Covid is still very much a part of our lives. We are still feeling the effects of supply and demand deficits due to companies facing having to carry people due to the virus. 

When I was in California, I paid over $5.75 for gas and, in some cases, it reached over $6.00. Inflation has created problems for many people, and we are facing a possible recession. Some businesses were closed at Christmas because of the lack of employees.

Every person is digging out of a problem daily. Some are facing financial difficulties and this vortex forces a wall of problems we may not have foreseen – depression, anxiety, uncertainty and the relationship problems that are caused as a result of these feelings. It can all spiral into a drift of antagonism testing our will to overcome. What we have done to build the muscle of determination makes all the difference in the world. 

I pulled out my Dickens and read “A Christmas Carol” again this year. That story identifies with the challenges of life in potent ways. Scrooge is a man who has been made by his circumstances. His father holds him responsible for his mother’s death because she died giving life to him. This in turn creates a stigma that stays with him until he reaches despondent miserly status and becomes wrapped up in a warped point of view of the world. He is a survivalist who channels all energy into ensuring that he does not suffer from poverty. 

Scrooge forms bad habits that are completely self-involved.  He rationalizes and reasons it’s okay to lie and cheat in the name of survival because society has forced his hand. The end justifies the means and we do what we need to do. 

Sound familiar? It should. This is all too evident in our willingness to accept lies and deceit from our politicians who’ve acquired capitalist sensibilities. We see commentators supporting autocratic sensibilities and support the Russian effort against Ukrainians. Such thinking has created problems for our country.

“A Christmas Carol” is such a relatable story because we see this in the lives of those we know. As we look at the way our family and friends view the world, there are those of us who have reached Scrooge status and do not even realize it. We hold on tighter to what we own, we are unwilling to give more of ourselves because we don’t have it in us to give.  The lie of the mind is created and when we hear a lie enough and tell ourselves enough lies they start to take root and grow in the foundations of our being.

Roy Cohn, Trump’s former lawyer, taught him “If you tell the lie enough times, people will believe them.”  He famously said, “I don’t want to know what the law is, I want to know who the judge is.” In other words, play on the weakness of others and you can win at any cost.

A good New Year’s resolution would be to start fresh. Are we truly being honest with ourselves? Are we accepting the lies we’ve been fed because we’re too proud to admit that we may be wrong? Are we calling out the lies? Are we holding our officials accountable for the lies they’ve created or are we holding media outlets accountable? Or are we living in a Scrooge like trance denying truth and compromising our feelings in the name of survival?

We must remain determined to face these drifts that the world creates for us and dig our way out. We have to face them no matter what, so dig deep within and start being true. Cultivating a deep, abiding heart of honesty in the name of love is a good place to start, because if we’re really being honest with ourselves, we do what we do in the name of love and all roads lead to that truth.

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