By David “Dickens” Noonan:
A tongue-in-cheek adaptation of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”
Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern and went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms and were old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was forced to grope with his hands to find his front door.
Now, it is a fact that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on his front door, except that it was very large. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not spared one thought on Marley since his last mention of his seven-years’ dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock in the door, saw not a knocker, but a face.
It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look, with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. As Scrooge watched, it became a knocker again. To say that he was not startled would be untrue. But he put his hand on the key, turned it sturdily, walked in and lighted his candle. Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room, all as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa, a small fire in the grate and the little saucepan of gruel. Quite satisfied, he closed his door and locked himself in; double-locked himself in, which was not his custom. He took off his cravat, put on his dressing gown and his slippers and nightcap and sat down before the fire to take his gruel – warming his aching shoulder by the small fire. Worked too much today, that’s all, thought Scrooge. And, I amgetting older.
As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell. It was with astonishment and a strange, inexplicable dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. It swung so softly at the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly – and so did every bell in the house. This might have lasted half a minute, but it seemed an hour. The bells ceased as they had begun – together.
They were succeeded by a clanking noise as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant’s cellar. The cellar door flew open and Scrooge heard the noise, much louder, on the floors below. Then up the stairs.
Then coming straight for his door.
“Humbug!” Scrooge said, “I won’t believe it!”
His color changed though when it came throughthe heavy door and into the room before his very eyes. Upon its entrance, the dying fire leaped up, as though it cried, “I know him! Marley’s Ghost!” and fell again.
The same face; the very same. Marley in his usual waistcoat, tights and boots. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long and wound about him like a tail and was made up of varying components: the forceps used to pull him from his Mother’s womb, the multiple falls during childhood, the carriage accidents, the daily insults and injuries, the emotional and physical traumas of a lifetime, every stress, each unresolved trauma forming one of the solid links within the chain.
“How now,” Scrooge said, cold and caustically as ever, “what do you want with me?”
“Much.” Marley’s voice. No doubt about it.
“Who are you?” Scrooge inquired of the Ghost.
“Ask me who I was.”
“Who were you then?” said Scrooge, raising his voice, “You’re particular, for a ghost.”
“In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley.”
“Can you – can you sit down?” asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him.
“Well, do it then.” Scrooge said, beckoning to the other chair before the fire.
“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.
“I don’t,” replied Scrooge.
“What evidence would you have beyond the reality of your senses?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why do you doubt your senses?” queried the Ghost.
“Because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a crumb of cheese, a blot of mustard, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more gravy than of grave about you!”
At this, the spirit raised a frightful cry and shook its chains with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon.
“Mercy!” cried Scrooge, “Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?”
“Man of the worldly mind,” cried the Ghost, “do you believe in me or not?”
“I do,” said Scrooge, “I must. But why do spirits walk the Earth and why do they come to me?”
“It is required of every man,” the Ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen and travel far and wide, that it care for itself and be healthy so as to care for others. And if that spirit goes not forth in life, it must do so after death.”
Again, the specter raised a cry and shook its chains.
“You are fettered,” observed Scrooge, “tell me why.”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost, “I made it link by link and yard by yard. Every trauma, injury and stress left unhealed. I girded it of my own free will and of my own free will I wore it, masking it with medication, injections and surgery, ignoring my body’s cries for relief. Is its pattern strange to you?”
Scrooge trembled more and more.
“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this seven Christmas Eve’s ago. You have labored on it since. It is a ponderous chain!”
Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.
“Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “speak comfort to me, Jacob!”
“I have none to give,” the Ghost replied. “I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never cared for itself, I always had better things to do! In life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!”
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.
“BUSINESS!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, self-care, exercise, love for myself and my fellows, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
It held up its chain at arm’s length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief and flung it heavily upon the ground again. It beckoned to him, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped. Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became aware of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The specter, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.
“Learn from what I have shown you!” cried Marley’s Ghost, “remove the chains that keep your potential bound! RELEASE THEM!”
Merry Christmas, right? Heheh… but what can we learn from the story of Marley’s Ghost visiting Scrooge? Have you teased it out yet? It’s a big lesson and one that could be a great Christmas gift for you and your loved ones this year. Give up?
Restrictions. Patterns. Compensations. Stress. Posture. Injuries, both old and new. These are the “chains” that we forge in life – but just like Scrooge, we are often oblivious to the weight and length of our chain as we fashion it “link by link and yard by yard.” It is not until we are faced with our injuries and traumas, until they rear their head, just as Marley visited Scrooge, that we can make a choice to change them, to grow, to heal.
The good news? You don’t have to wait to be visited by Marley’s Ghost or the Spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Yet-to-Come… you already have the knowledge within you. Every tender spot that we help you find, every area where the hurt, fear and sadness reside… every time we find them together, you can choose to let them go. You can choose to take control of your life again, to remove the chains that fetter you and soar into unknown heights and experiences.
Give yourself a gift this Christmas… love yourself enough to let go, to break the chains that bind you.
From all of us at IC… this year and always…
Love, Light, Happy Holidays, a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful, Healthy and Happy New Year!