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Reason for a lightless season / December 19, 2013
Dear Viewpoint:

I am writing this letter to share with everyone why there are no Christmas lights down on 2014 Buckshoal Road. I really don’t know where to start explaining all the little things that have added up to cause me not to decorate.

My parents decorated to give back to the community and share the joy of Christ being born. I grew up knowing that Thanksgiving was the start of decorating season. Also during this time, there were three families, all kin who shared in this joy. Now it just me, I cannot do all this alone. Lots of people say they want to help put up lights, but when it comes time, there is nobody... That reminds me of the “Little Red Hen” story...where everyone wanted the end product and the final reward, but nobody was willing to help with the process.

In the Gospels, Paul says we as Christians need to take a stand, so part of this letter is my stand. Since my parents death and my layoff from the school system, there is not the great joy in my life any more.

I have seen people at their worst and at their best. I have been in a dark place and am attempting to move to a brighter place. I have been a victim of greed. Someone stole over 4000 strings of lights. I reckon they stole them to get the wire to sell to the recycling center. People have gone onto the farm and into the storage building and torn up or stole decorations. Yes, lots of them were store bought, but many were handmade by my Papa and Mama, these can never be replaced. The icing on the cake is when they stole my quail, budgies, and grass keets I was breeding and raising.

My parents and I have always shown our faith and our Christianity by our lifestyle and actions, not by just words. We have helped others and never asked for anything in return, but it seems many people see this as a weakness, not as being a child of God. I am tired of living like a ghost in my own home. I have “family” who drive by my house everyday and they hunt and fish on my farm, but they never stop by to say hello. I have gone days without seeing another living person. I have even commented on Facebook, if I were to die in my house, it would probably be weeks before anyone checked on me. That’s sad to say, but feel it’s true. Now, it has not been all doom and gloom, I have had people who I didn’t think cared, actually help me out. I have not worked full time since June 2012. I have had only two part time jobs, which I enjoyed, but was seasonal, the other was short lived because my supervisor made a mistake and blamed me. That’s a whole story in itself, dealing with the red tape of trying to get unemployment benefits.

I tried and still have a small art studio, but when the Christmas stuff was torn up, whoever it was also tore up hundreds of dollars of supplies, molds and my glass kilns.

One would think with two rental houses and retirement, I could live comfortably, not outlandishly, but could be comfortable by being careful, but when people rent from private individuals, they feel they can be late with rent or refuse to pay... The rent I get from those houses pay my bills, and the people I owe money don’t care about anything except I pay my bills. So, it makes me look bad when I can’t pay my bills because they pay their rent whenever they want. And if you involve the court system to help you collect, that is additional money and time. I had one guy skip out owing over 3 months rent and utility bills and abandoned two dogs in the house (the dogs are ok, they are part of my household now)...

Everyone wants the lights up, but there is little to decorate with...

I have also gotten burnt out on how people are acting these days. An example, today at the local super store, the lady in front of me had a cart full of items and it was supposed to be 20 items or fewer checkouts. The entire time she was on the phone talking with others about parties and gifts and so forth. When stores decided to be open on Thanksgiving and were running all kinds of sales, I decided to wander over and see about getting a tablet that was on sale. I discovered the line of the electronic specials curved from the service desk into the parking lot, that was overwhelming and then while I was line, a lady let her 5 family members cut in front of her. When I politely told her that was not fair, she actually threatened bodily harm if I didn’t shut up. This is not the reason for the season. This is the consumerism and greed at its peak.

Have we lost the understanding and compassion of the season? Everyone seems to be so wrapped up in shopping, spending...seeing how they can outdo each’s a mess...

I have lost a great deal over the past few years, but I have learned that the most important things are sharing time with someone who is alone...praising the Lord through our actions and our faith.

I don’t mean for this letter to sound like I am bitter. I am learning that people are forgetting the past, and the “Golden Rule.” We are also forgetting kindness, courtesy, and to me, we are forgetting that the birth of Christ is the reason for the season, not lights, gifts, parties, and such.

So this Christmas, don’t look for the Christmas lights on houses, look for the light in your heart and in others and let’s see how we can help those lights grow bright.

Sincerely yours,
Henry Jeff Puryear

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