“Hurt people hurt people. People hurt others as a result of their own inner strife and pain.” (Will Bowen)
I really pride myself in the hard work I put into my outdoor Christmas display every year. Many of my neighbors have even gotten more into the spirit over the years because of how festive I continue to make the outside of my home look. My partner Chris jokes about it sometimes by saying it’s easy to tell where our house is in Toledo during the holiday season because of how bright it is.
Nevertheless, I often find myself looking outside my windows well in the late hours of the night every holiday season, solely because I find peace in seeing all my colorful light displays brightly shining into the thick of night. Sadly, on one of those occasions a few weeks ago, I noticed a large section of lights on my fence were out. It was around 3am at the time and I actually had just finished doing a very late evening meditation. I immediately put on some warm clothes and headed outside to identify the problem. I thought maybe a fuse had blown or something, that was until I discovered several slashed wires hanging limply on the ground. It was apparent someone had used something sharp to slice them. I’d go on to spend the next three hours fixing it by rewiring my whole fence and re-splicing the strands of lights that were cut. Needless to say, I was quite upset over the whole matter. The idea that someone would actually want to ruin a Christmas light display that was only meant to evoke joy totally baffled me. The incident reminded me of the same pain I went through back in the early 2000s when I was living in Falls Church, VA. There, someone also damaged some of my Christmas display, a portion of which was completely irreparable. Regardless, through the rooms of recovery from addiction, I’ve learned that sometimes “hurt people, hurt people”, usually as a way for their ego to feel better about their own pain and suffering they’ve got going on inside.
Remembering that, I was able to come to acceptance that whomever damaged my Christmas lights, must be hurting pretty bad inside. Who knows, maybe they’re being abused at home, maybe they have no family, maybe they aren’t celebrating Christmas this year due to financial issues, or maybe some other tragic thing is going on in their life right now that’s ruining the possibility of being in any type of Christmas spirit? That happened to me specifically in 1996 when my father took his life right before the holiday season began. I remembering being particularly mean to everyone that Christmas season.
The bottom line is that when someone is feeling really hurt in their lives, that all too often, they want others to hurt with them too, all because their ego makes them believe they’ll feel better if they do. But, in the end, they don’t. Instead, guilt piles up the more they lash out.
So, in knowing this, this is how I came to forgive the culprit that took their pain out on some of my Christmas light display this year. Deep down, I’m sure they’re hurting and for whatever it is, I only pray that God will surround them this holiday season with light and love.
Dear God, help me to remember this Christmas and beyond to always do my best to unconditionally love those who are hurt, even when they may lash out and hurt me in the process. Because deep down, below all their pain, is someone who truly is worthy of unconditional love no matter what.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson