Raging Against the Dark

The Natvitiy by Gerard van Honthorst


A couple of days ago, I announced on Twitter my intentions to not blog for a while.

The truth is, friends, I’ve hit a wall. The last several months have been nothing but heartache and sturm und drang for me. Losing a good friend to cancer, battling the injustices of a a corrupt landlord (who was fired!), moving.

It’s been too much stress all at once. My normal, healthy levels of cynicism have grown to near Dorothy Parker-esque proportions. And I’m not alone. Yesterday, I announced my stepbrother and his wife had given birth to a new son. Do you know not one of my friends congratulated me or sent good wishes to the family and the new addition?

No, people were far too busy arguing about whether TSA agents were actual sexual predators, or merely just invasive fascists.

I came this close to deleting my Twitter account, deleting my Facebook account, deleting my blog and disappearing from the Internet. Then I thought again. Why should I punish myself?

For me, entering the Holiday season always marks the beginning of a depression. I love my family. Love spending time with them. But it’s stressful. Messages of rampant consumerism and showing our affection for our loved ones through expensive purchases are interspersed with songs about love, peace and joy, then piped directly into our brains via every media format known to man.

Now, don’t click away just yet. I’m not turning anti-capitalist. Not by a long shot. There’s nothing wrong with Santa, or with celebrating the fruits of our labors by exchanging gifts of value. At all!

I guess what I’m saying is this: in fighting the good fight – combating a creeping political ideology with which we do not agree, shouting down unacceptable policies, railing against the evils of George Soros and his ilk – I feel we’re losing part of ourselves. I feel I’m losing part of myself.

In the past months, aside from everything that’s gone on (incidentally, death makes me unbelievably angry, rather than sad), I’ve become somewhat ineffective. I’m snapping at friends, failing to see the humor in the humorous. I’ve never been a big “hugs and bunnies and – ZOMG! – kisses!” kind of guy, but I’m losing my basic good will toward men … just when I need it most.

Perhaps it’s only that my perceptions have changed, but there seems to be a general ennui, even outrage, consuming many of the people I enjoy as well. Certainly, there is plenty in the world to be angry about. Certainly, we should fight back against the injustice and evils all around us. But at what cost? The quality of our lives? Our lives themselves? Our souls?

There is a popular philosophy that we sacrifice now so that our children – and their children – will have a better world. We quote such sentiments from those who have gone before us, emphasizing the moral imperative to solve problems now, so that our children don’t have to. But we often forget two things. One, that we are those children. Two, that no matter how many problems we take care of today, a new host of them will arise tomorrow.

I’m not suggesting we relent. I care just as much right this minute about creeping socialism, government control, corruption, the radical separation of people from their inalienable rights, as I did a minute ago, yesterday, last week or last year. But I also know I need renewing. If I’m going to continue to do my part in that battle, I need reminding of why I’m doing it.

In just over a month, the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether one thinks of Jesus as God made flesh, the son of God given for our redemption, a really cool dude, or even a complete fabrication, Jesus’s birth should be a time of renewed hope.

Various people try to claim Jesus had such and such political views, but the truth is His message was complex and profound, completely transcending the kingdom of men.

When I contemplate the birth of Christ, there is always that one moment. The moment when the world stopped, the star shone brightly above the manger and all mankind sank to its knees in wonder, adoration, and with a new found respect and awe for life, and for the loving God who gave us such a gift.

I need that right now.

Consequently, at the risk of totally Jerry Maguiring myself, I’m not going to stop blogging or retreat from the online world that has really brought me so many good friends and companions. Instead, I’m going to devote my blog – from now until the new year – to positive messages.

I don’t mean to suggest I’m going to devote my time to little Susie’s bake sale, or the salvation of Chuckles, the adorable puppy. I think there is plenty of room for intelligent discussion while concentrating on the affirmative. After all, if we don’t believe that, what the hell are we fighting for, anyway?

Nor do I mean to say I’m sticking my head in the sand. I’ll still pay attention to current events. They will continue to energize me. And I certainly am not trying to indicate I feel other people should take the same approach I am. The truth is, our problems don’t take a Holiday break. We need ever vigilant soldiers.

I just now that my time is now. I feel called, either by my own reflections or a power working within me, to help remind the world in some small way, of what we are protecting and defending.

If you only read me for the snark, or the rants, simply come back on January 1st. Or, more likely, the 2nd. Champagne does horrible things to me. No doubt, my “not only is the glass half empty, but it’s likely poisoned” attitude will re-emerge.

I do hope, however, that you stick with me. (And, yes. “Red Eye” posts will return tomorrow.)

JUST A NOTE: Several people have said they didn’t see my nephew’s birth announcement. I only announced it on Twitter, so unless you follow me there, you wouldn’t have seen it. Also, if you do follow me on Twitter, I wasn’t intending to chastise anyone, just expressing how I felt. Most of the people I tweet with follow literally hundreds of people. We don’t always see every tweet that comes through our timelines.

11 Responses to “Raging Against the Dark”
  1. AliceHankey says:

    Yes, you do sound like you need “downtime”, as everyone does from time to time. (I’ve been culling my follow-list every day as my own stress mgmt method – at some point even benign joking subjects become corrosive to my patience).

    In case it helps in some way, your twitter/blog appeal to me is your general cheeriness and obvious goodwill — NOT the snark and rant. In fact, I think one reason your snarking/ranting is more effective than many others is because it’s so clearly not an expression of bitterness or anger.

    Anyway – even though I’ve got about zero social skills and would never have thought to say this without your tweaking – I am truly sorry for your loss. I sincerely hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving and that you find joy spending time with your family and new nephew this holiday season.

  2. wpdunn71901 says:

    I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but here is the deal
    when you fight the good fight, you are going to catch hell, people you think would be sensitive to the special things wont realize a thing, you and a few others, are the last of the gunslingers, the paladins of the lost hour, the hard men and women of the veils. that’s the hard of it, you have to harden up without becoming hard – its a tough row but if you are a true freemen you will do it


    • Thanks for the encouraging words! Even the hardiest of soldiers need a break from active duty. I WILL be back fighting the good fight. And – hopefully – will be fighting it even now. Just in a slightly different way.

  3. Joaninpodunk says:

    Allow me to also congradulate you on the new nephew you have aquired. I missed the announcement, but in truth, I probably would not have even thought to say YAY! I guess I welcome new family with “oh, no. Not another one.” I gotta stop assuming everyone else feels the same way.

    I think we dwell on the negative stuff, because it’s so much easier to identify and write about stuff that is bugging us. The stuff that makes us happy is fleeting- an old song, an aroma that makes you think of summer, a breathtaking sunset- these things are hard to write about.

    So, I’ll try: It’s snowing, and Podunk looks like a winter wonderland postcard. The snow is the perfect type to build snow men. I’m torn between the happy thought of going out and making one, or sitting with my nose plastered to the window, drinking hot chocolate and watching it come down.

  4. Krisla says:

    I missed the announcement of your nephew! Congratulations to your family for his safe arrival. I can relate to your post as I feel like I am on the upswing of recovering from a “sociopolitical hangover” as well. I would have greatly missed your posts and glad your going to continue to enlighten and entertain us all!

  5. robin monillas says:

    I am sorry I missed your announcement. Congrats Uncle Chris! Kids are our hope for the future.
    They are bright spots in a Dark World. I am glad you did not stop posting. I look forward to your honesty.
    And you share your heart fully. Not holding back.
    The holidays are hard for everyone. I find it really hard too. Especially with the world a mess. looking to how we can bless others keeps things in focus. We cant bring loved ones back – we can love the ones we still have with us. It is a daily walk. And we do fall. But with Grace and the Mercy from the father…..we will stand
    and keep going. Keep up the work Chris.
    I hope for a lovely Thanksgiving for you my friend. One of peace and love like no other!
    With love and warm reguards,

  6. DCG says:

    I as well missed the tweet of your nephew – congrats to you & your family! Being an uncle (or aunt) is much more fun than having to parent a child!

    And I applaud your decision to post positves…God knows we need more of that in our lives.

  7. kerry says:

    congratulations on the birth of your nephew!

  8. Thomas Bruce says:

    Hey Chris, First of all glad to have met u and I know our interaction hasn’t been all that much. Yeah, my Twitter activity is hit & miss as it I don’t use my phone for it, God knows I would not get anything else done if I had an iphone, I did bail out of FB for awhile, (not sure if I will come back or not) as it was consuming me with others for arguments that seemed pointless at times.

    Glad to hear about your new nephew, we have grand niece/nephews and they are a lot of fun.

    ….and yes, that moment when the star shone brightly over the manger……

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Barnhart, Chris Barnhart and Jenn Q. Public, Cynthia Leathers. Cynthia Leathers said: #unityDirtyunity — but at what cost? http://tinyurl.com/39jvbmu by @ChrisBarnhart #tcot […]

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