What Do the Grinch, Scrooge, Moses and Joseph Have in Common?
As a Christmas lover, I rushed to the local movie theatre to watch the NEW Christmas movie. This year it was The Grinch. A full length movie about how the Grinch became a Christmas-destroying menace. Guess what happened in his childhood that lead to his self-perception and his behavior? Yep, you guessed it. Like Scrooge, Moses and Joseph … he was abandoned.
The experience of abandonment, like abuse, and neglect can be a prescription for self-destruction and violence towards others. In the case of Scrooge, his form of self-destruction was withholding generosity from himself and others perpetuating a miserly experience for all involved. His financial and love withholding had a direct impact on himself, his family, and his community. He was painfully alone and loathed by those who knew him. His nephew Tiny Tim who wore a leg brace and could die from his family’s inability to pay his health care premiums for this pre-existing condition. And, Scrooge determined the salary for Tiny Tim’s dad as Scrooge was his employer. A dream awakens Scrooge to the pain of being left in an orphanage as a child over Christmas and his deep longing for connection. The contrast between who he has been and who he could become is stark enough in his dream to pull him toward risking hurt, once again, and opening his heart and wallet.
The Grinch also withheld from himself. He withheld the opportunity to connect to others and to make merry. He refused to give himself connection and fun. The backstory, we come to learn in this new movie, was that he too was left alone as a child at Christmas while he watched others through a big glass window enjoying this time of year. The pain was significant enough to “turn him mean” as a form of self protection and inevitably shrinking his heart. As an adult bully, he stole Christmas from the residence of Whoville by becoming a reverse Santa. He would sneak into homes and take their gifts, instead of give to them. He would come to find out that stealing things is not the same thing as stealing spirit; and in reality, spirit could not be stolen. This realization and some love was enough to grow his heart three sizes larger and change how he showed up in the world.
Being abandoned can also be the perfect training to become a good, strong, and capable leader. In the case of Moses, to save his life from the killing of male babies, his mother placed him as an infant in a basket to float down the river where he was found by the Pharoah’s daughter and raised in the Kingdom. Being abandoned was a necessary part of preparing Moses to lead the Isrealites out of Egypt. Likewise, Joseph’s brothers not only abandoned him, but sold Jacob to a caravan of Midianite traders. Joseph’s life experiences, independent of his family, trained him to become a wise and steady leader that would save his country, and ultimately his own family, from famine.
Twenty seven Disney movies, including Frozen, have the mother or both parents of the main characters die in the early part of the movie; abandoning the character. Making it in the world “alone” is one way of learning who you are and what you are while developing a strong drive to prove you worthy to yourself.
One of the many gifts of spiritual living is the ability to realize that EVERYTHING works together for your good. Whether your mother packs you up and places you in a river, you are sent to an orphanage, or sold to a group of traders; life experience becomes a grist to either self flagellate, fight the world or develop Qualities of Spirit for the benefit of all humanity. Spiritual living provides a way of seeing that circumstances and people aren’t bad; they exist in order to sharpen our own internal commitment to distributing more of The Light. And, the larger the wound, the brighter the Light.
This Holiday Season, my invitation to each of us is to embrace the Light that we are. In meditation ask to be shown any part of your own being that has felt abandoned, left out, estranged, rejected, and allow the Light to do Its healing. Allow yourself to feel and witness it all as you reclaim parts of yourself that you may have left in the past. Bless anything you judge and celebrate your Life NOW!
I Toast the Light in You,
Reverend Bonnie will hold three meditation sessions in her home this holiday season. Thursday November 29, December 6 and December 13 6:30 to 8 pm. Each night is a stand alone meditation; you are invited to attend one, two or all of them. Suggested donation is $25-$35 per evening. Email for logistics at firstname.lastname@example.org.