Gun Oil

December 23, 2014

bad santa

Midnight’s Past (1985)

Its midnight past —- dark as the darkest coal in the mines of Pennsylvania.  The wind howls with an obscene sound and the snow is blown through the barren fields.  Stubble sticks through the white snow giving it the look of an old man’s beard.  Cold and silence envelop me in the sterile, frozen landscape.  The taste of the gun barrel in my mouth is foul and dirty; the sense of the trigger pulled just to the last pressure point. A twitch, a movement, and the laughter starts.

The demonic voice starts low, almost beyond hearing, growing wilder and wilder with each moment.  It’s not my laughter but a demonic sound from the Prince of Darkness.  It’s his victory chant starting its wild crescendo.  In a flash, a heartbeat, I will be in hell.  I already rent there—what difference does it make.  Every male member in my family on my father’s side, dead by suicide, so it’s inevitable.  The pact will be fulfilled.

It’s almost Christmas.

The gun is in my mouth.  I can’t go through another Christmas.  Dear God, I will spare my family another Christmas from hell.

You’ve sworn on all that’s holy you wouldn’t say, wouldn’t do it.  But you do, and you speak and the first time it happens you are stunned.  How can I stand the pain and disappointment in my wife’s eyes?

My boyhood home—– and Christmas is hell with constant undertones of bickering and fighting between my mother and father.  The drill is the same for my sister and me, doesn’t matter that it’s Christmas time.  Misery exists in our home, side by side with the pathetic Christmas tree.

The agony is constant, but at Christmas it seems magnified when others are singing about “Peace on Earth.”  My father crawls in my bed, telling me lies about my mother, hurting me, while professing his love for me.  And my mother tries to help, ordering him out of my top bunk, grabbing and dragging all 6’2” of him across the room, hitting him.  A smack from my dad lands across her face, sounding like an axe hitting an oak stump. She slides to the floor, my sister falling on top of her, trying to protect her.  My dad hovers like a hawk, watching, waiting, wanting to hit again, and then stomping off to drink his evening away.

My mother’s advice; “Kids, when you hear us fighting, run into the bathroom, and lock the door.  When we move to the other part of the house fighting, grab your clothes, jump out the window and get into the car.  Don’t open the doors, and if I’m not out in 30 minutes, drive the car down to IGA, park there, and blow the horn until Mr. Boltz comes out.  He’ll take care of you.”

“Be sure to call the cops!”

Its Christmas time, and I hate the songs, and I hate the sentiments, and I hate the hate I feel.

Our trip to cut down a Christmas tree starts out as a normal family time.  Everyone in the car, my sister and I hoping and praying for a pleasant day.  “One stop at MacDonald’s Bar and Grill for a quick one.  You guys sit tight,” Dad says.

And a few hours later a neighbor or a state cops comes by and takes you home.

Its three days before Christmas and there’s a knock on the door.  In come three giants in police uniform.  They set up the tree that you never got and decorate it, and they put down the toys and candies and bring in bags of groceries because somehow they know you have been eating nothing but cheerios and spam.  You can’t believe someone cares, and as they leave, they tousle your hair, saying “Be the man, hold it together.”

It’s Christmas Eve, and you and your sister huddle in bed without any visions of sugarplums in your head.  All you can hear is the sound of your drunken father, shooting his gun in the air, laughing and saying, “That fat SOB isn’t stopping here tonight so get your asses to bed.”

Christmas morning dawns, and you race down the stairs.  But there’s no Christmas tree, no toys, no decorations.  Nothing is said, but you and your sister are packed up to grandma’s house, where you can get a semblance of Christmas, where you can feel safe and be a child again.

The Christmas tree is sold with all the toys and decorations right there in your home. Maybe it’s because your father owes someone money, or maybe it’s just because he thinks it’s funny.

Oh, but everyone has to love Christmas.   Not me!

I never shot the gun into the air.  I never sold the goods out from under your nose.  I never got drunk and laid in a stupor for the holidays.

I just bitch about everything.   Why do I have to do it?  Why ask me to participate?  Oh, well, the martyr syndrome kicks in, and I say just get it over with.  I create the tension, I crate the threats, and it’s me who hates Christmas.

I am fully saved.  I am fully justified and sanctified.  But I can’t get through the depression that fall upon me.  It hovers all year and descends in full force at Thanksgiving time.

Ho, Ho, Ho.  I can’t do it.  My first full time position as an associate pastor, I try to play the Christmas Pastor.   I reach the point of thinking if I hear another Christmas carol or poem or get invited to another church Christmas party I’m going to puke.

It can’t be hidden.  Finally I get called into the office two days before New Year’s Eve and asked what’s wrong with me.  Must be a “seasonal effect disorder.”

And so in a windblown field, all is lost, all is gone; the holidays have robbed me of everything. No one can love me, no one comes near, they are afraid of the anger, the tempest.  The depression is black, the Gallic curse is full blown, and a berserker mentality is taking root. A siege engine is gripping my thoughts.   Why surrender?  Why strive? Give up, give in, and stop fighting.   You are not a man.  Give it up!

The lies and seduction call you to rest.  The serpent is whispering, “Pull the trigger, stop fighting, you’ve lost.  There is no shame, it’s the family curse.” And the depression has been with me a year, the weight is like going down the mine, crushing, suffocating.   Blackness, rage, and desperation sets in.

And the hammer starts to fall, and the laughter gets louder.  Everything slows to a crawl.

“Does He matter more than this?” A voice echoes in your mind.

You fall to your knees, and weep, tears freeze on your face.   You think all is lost, all is gone, never to regain anything ever again.

And then the epiphany comes.  Christ Precious.  “Is Christ precious to you?”  It’s more than saying you love Him.  It’s more than calling him Lord.  It’s a fact that you would lose all, watch everything crumble, but there is no companion, no possession worth anything more than Christ.

On bended knee the cry escapes my lips, “Take it all, you’ve taken it all, and you are precious. With this and no more I crave, not one thing can be added, and I will say you are most precious to me.

You shout, “Yes, He is more precious, nothing else matters, if all I have is this moment, it is enough, because He is most precious.”

He is most precious, and with His arms of grace about you, you fall asleep.  It is lifted.

Thank God for healing of mind, body and soul.

God bless from

I’m still the not biggest fan of Christmas, I believe in getting help, and sunlight and Son Light both do wonders.

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