by Arianna Walker
We all know the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge – the epitome of selfishness – the quintessential mean-spirited, miserly, narcissistic old man. However, as this timeless Charles Dickens story unfolds, (every year around this time of year!) it becomes clear that there are reasons for Scrooge’s miserable approach to life.
When the Ghost of Christmas past comes to visit Scrooge, we catch a glimpse of his pain. His mother dies when he is young, and he is left alone to fend for himself when his father is unable to deal with his own grief. Later, the ghost shows Scrooge how his success in business has made him obsessive, developing a workaholic tendency.
His money and work-obsessed personality traits eventually drive Scrooge’s fiancée, Belle, to leave him, further hardening his heart. Finally, after Scrooge loses his sister, Fan, while she gives birth to his nephew, Scrooge loses all of his love for humanity, for life in general. He becomes a hard shell of a man with virtually no life left inside of him.
This is what life can be like for many of us. It’s not just one thing that gets us; it’s one thing after another, and, before we know it, we become so overrun with a sense of loss that we simply shut down in an attempt to protect our heart and prevent further pain and disappointment.
Often our response to this loss is to hold on; to hold tight to our own resources, to hold tight to our loved ones, to become fixed in our way of doing things. We become controlling, or cold and detached for fear of losing someone, something, anything else.
But Ebenezer had a turnaround moment; an experience that led him to see that his own way of coping with the pain was keeping him isolated, bound in fear and guilt. And it led him to discover the healing power of generosity….
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