Posted by: Zane Maser | December 22, 2012


Merciful compassion and love are the most important gifts of all.

All of us have had things and events happen in our lives that were so painful we drew inwards temporarily to protect ourselves and heal. Perhaps we became more reserved and distant, inaccessible emotionally, while we nursed our wounds and grew sturdy enough to once again engage life fully. We begin to venture forth, having grown because of our intense suffering—our version of the dark night of the soul. A supportive person, spouse, or network of family and friends give us the necessary nurturance and love to feel okay once more so that we risk opening our hearts. They have mirrored our worthiness and resilience to ride through the emotional storm—most often some form of significant loss—into the calm waters under the blue sky of hope.

For whatever reason, others become the emotional casualties of life. They are so shattered they are unable to reconstruct the pieces of a functional life, provided they even had one to begin with. So many, as infants and children, don’t even have the nurturance that creates a sense of certainty and safety, let alone self-esteem! Such wounds are normally invisible, because few people have an obvious emotional deformity that gives us a clue to their interior struggles and incapacities. Incomprehensible traumas, like physical abuse, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and some forms of mental illness are but a few of the ways a person’s brokenness can be masked.

How often are the moments when we are quick to judge an outward appearance prior to knowing any of the facts about a person or their life situation?


In keeping with the festive season of religious celebrations around the globe, the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a prime example of an outwardly loathsome person in his tight-fisted stinginess, greed, and cold-heartedness. He was a man so remote from the heart of life—the innocence of his own heart—that his miserliness had taken every ounce of lightness and joy out of his being. He was all but dead to life, castigating and despising his fellow humans. Charles Dickens described the archetypal Scrooge as “… a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” Year by year, link by link, Scrooge forges his own hellish chains of imprisonment in this life and what he has to meet after death when he journeys through his purgatory with the Ghost of the Future.

All outward oppression is but the shadow and effect
of the real opposition within, such that
inner freedom brings outward freedom.
James Allen, British philosopher


During Scrooge’s wrenching night of self-confrontation, traveling to his past, present, and future with the Three Ghosts appointed for these tasks, he realizes the inviolable spark of his spirit that had remained hidden but intact despite his shriveled, skinflint attitude. He revisits the loveless imprint of his childhood, where he was a discarded, damaged, lonely, sad boy whose father treated him as though he were a non-existent orphan. Scrooge received love only from his sister, so his own ability to be generous and loving remained dormant. He had treated himself with the same parsimonious withholding as others had treated him. He became the worst version of himself.

In what turns out to be an opening into grace, he discovers that the terrible miseries we create for our self, such as money grubbing, are the survival patterns and defenses we erect. So often, however, there is a different person trapped inside fighting to get out. At the crossroads of starting anew, he makes the choice to release himself from the slavery of his chains of fear to live again and make amends. The essence of the true Scrooge is his childlike joy and kind generosity, surfacing naturally the very moment he liberates himself from the contracted distortion of who he’d become.

Transformation is as instantaneous as the realization that we’ve perpetrated the emotional oppression on our self. Overnight, Scrooge made the transition from being a heart-empty hoarder to a heart-filled sharer, from taking all he could to giving with openhanded warmth of spirit. His life of drudgery became a spree of enthusiastic interest in the welfare of others. His radical evolution became an inspirational message that choice and change happen right now: it’s never too late to free our self from the inner, hardcore scrooge who simply needs a breath of fresh air in the sunlight of self-acceptance. Love is the gift we must give to our self first.

All you can take with you is all that you’ve given.
Peter Bailey, father of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life

Scroogish-ness comes in many forms and subtle guises. Is there some hidden facet of you that harbors an inner Scrooge bound in chains of fear? Can you gently approach this wounded part of you and then begin to feel deep compassion for the suffering undergone? How can you welcome back this disowned segment(s) into the loving wholeness of you?

Remember, time is short, as the Ghost of the Present warned Scrooge. What will you chose? Your own Ghost of the Future asks you to consider what you want to see as your future and the legacy that will outlive you? What is the authentic vision from your heart?

Related Posts:

• Profound Goodness (about David Cooperfield, another of Charles      Dicken’s famous characters)

• The Hunchback in Each of Us

• Appearances

• Fostering What? Part 2

• Shrouded in “A Dark Night”

• The River of Grief

• Approach and Avoidance

• Pain Body Attack!

• Self-Acceptance Heals the World

• Resilience

• How Would You Be Remembered?

Text © by Zane Maser, 2012. Cartoon of George C. Scott as Scrooge © Robert Doucette. The other drawing of Scrooge by John Leech, 1843, from Wikimedia Commons. All rights reserved worldwide.

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My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.

If you are interested in an astrological consultation and/or a specific question answered by a horary chart, please visit SunnyCat© Astrology.

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