Abuse is like killing a person every day of their life and expecting them to stand tall and look pretty.
I risk sounding like a scrooge in order to put to words what so many feel at Christmas time. It should be such a time for joy, and peace.
Yesterday, I was writing some ideas down for blog posts. I was stuck on a few ideas and I found myself just looking at our Christmas tree.
In my early childhood years, my parents would buy Christmas trees to decorate around December. The tradition was long lost in busyness and the simplicity of fake Christmas trees. So it wasn’t until a few days ago that the Farmer and I took our three children up a mountain to cut down our own Christmas tree. It was quite the adventure. The littlest girl brought rain boots instead of snow boots. I just wasn’t thinking to check out what everyone had packed for our day trip, plus in the plains, it was a nice 55 degrees. Up the mountain, it was a different story, though. It was much colder, and now the sun was behind the mountaintops. I was expecting some snow, but not the waist-deep snow we would find.
The littlest girl’s rain boots filled with snow and started to freeze her toes. Luckily, my feet are small so I thought I would just switch her boots. We could just try to cut down the first decent tree we found and hurry back to the car. But as my toes then began to freeze, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it. So I trudge my way back down to the car, in boots that were too small. I was able to defrost my toes with the heater in our car. I didn’t want to miss out on picking our Christmas tree. So I found some boots the Farmer had stored in the back and began o trudge back up, in boots that were too big.
As I sit here thinking about that day, I realized so many pine needles on the ground. I think of how weird it is that we bring a tree inside to decorate. A dying tree dolled up with lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Decorations that have so many memories of past Christmas’. Time changes things as it passes, sometimes too much.
Women who are in abusive marriages are just like this Christmas tree. Cut for the enjoyment of others and decorated. Expected to stand tall and carry the weight of all the distractions. All the while truly dying inside. Except onlookers choose to see the decorations of pretty smiles, the makeup, or the car and see happiness. But isn’t happiness a condition of the heart? Can you actually see it from the outside?
A Christmas tree is a truly beautiful thing. With the bulbs and lights, others feel the joy of Christmas cheer, while the tree is dying. Though my life is different now, I will never forget how it felt to be a dying Christmas tree.
So I challenge you. Do not mistake smiles as happiness. Do not make assumptions that nice things mean things are fine. The person you make eye contact with, just might be dying.