These eyes, …

The recent events in Egypt have struck me in a strange way.

I was driving along the road this week listening to NPR and I find I am reacting emotionally to the news of the dictator Mubarak — like I did to my father’s treatment growing up.

The fear and the almost frantic way in which the people of Egypt stayed in Freedom Square — the fear of a vicious dictator. I know that feeling.

This is something I wrote in 2007. I am so, so grateful that most of these emotions are not still with me today.

These eyes, …

What you see there in my eyes is pain.  All the things I try to push away in order to do — this — day.  Yes, I was yelled at, raged at almost daily growing up when he wasn’t working or traveling for more than eighteen years. Oh, she was so sad — always sinking into the pretext of being sick so that she wouldn’t have to face the fact that he was yelling, rebuking, bullying.  Making his children shrink into a ball of tears and fear.  Stunted, unable to process the world around.  Yes, she drank, and drank, until a week before he died; she was burying herself in a bottle of Vodka.  Yes, he died, his brain slowly crumbling around him.  Yes, that melancholy that has followed me — sometimes chased me — through my life.  It comes in and intends to stay.  Until I rise up and scream,  NOoooooooo!  You are not welcome!  These are the demons that come and sometimes I can’t make them go away.  I just crawl up into a ball and let the waves of pain wash over me.

I did that.  But today these eyes, which have been trying to tell the world what he did and how it feels, today these eyes are saying it hurts, but I am strong.

I am not going to repeat history. 

I am going to be someone who can stop the rage, listen to my fears, process my pain, and I will NOT, above all, take it out on my beautiful husband and children.

These eyes are saying, I am strong.

Femmes arabes sur baudets.

The New York Public Library has shared old photographs to the public commons of flickr. I was intrigued by these really old images from Syria and Egypt and this one in particular. It made me think of Mary, Jesus’ mother, possibly riding in to Nazareth, exceedingly pregnant. She would not have been veiled, but in every other way this image takes me there.

I just love old images and thoroughly enjoy scrolling through them.

On a slightly different note, has a kid ever asked you things like “Why is Santa called Santa?” Or, I’m trying to remember some of the stranger questions I’ve gotten over the years…. about various Christmas customs?  Have you ever wondered why a tree is used to celebrate Christmas?  I have.  I found an interesting website explaining why we have certain Christmas traditions and fascinating to me, how Christmas is celebrated  in various cultures.  Christ followers celebrate the birth of Jesus and if you’re curious, read the full Christmas story here.

And, being a step-parent, I found this rendition of the story of Joseph to be interesting.  It’s found on an Anglican Church website.  Being a step-mom was one of the most difficult roles I’ve ever found myself playing and it isn’t a game.  Every day, with an instant five year old child was personally challenging and tested my character and strength.  I’m afraid I many times came up short.  But I never considered the fact that Joseph was raising a child that wasn’t his own blood.

I hope you will enjoy the 19th century images.  And perhaps learn something you didn’t previously know about the customs of Christmas.