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There are three stages of Santa Claus.

Stage One: You believe in Santa Claus.

Stage Two: You don’t believe in Santa Claus.

Stage Three: You are Santa Claus.

I was happily living my charmed life in Stage One – until 7:15 AM on August 24, 1958. My sociopathic older brother was assigned the task of altering my life – forever — by my spineless parents who could not do the job themselves.

My brother and I occupied the same bedroom on the second floor of our three bedroom Queen Anne Cottage. I don’t remember exactly how he informed me there was no Santa Claus. All I do remember is that I felt panic for the first time in my life. I got out of bed and began running to my parent’s bedroom. Before I cleared the bedroom door, he maliciously added, “And there’s no Easter Bunny either.”

I was thrust into Stage Two without so much as a by your leave. I was 10 years old.

I felt hurt and betrayed, but it was worse than that, and I could find no words to describe it. I had heard my mother use the word ‘devastated’ and the phrase ‘mortified beyond chagrin’ but I wasn’t sure what they meant. I decided on the latter because it sounded better than the former. I told myself I was mortified beyond chagrin. I was forced to grow up and I didn’t like it one little bit. How dare they or anyone else decide when, where, or what I was to believe?

I still had my belief in God which was some solace to the tragic loss of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Little did I know, that belief was moving steadily toward the chopping block also.

At age 14 I entered Catechism instruction. The questions about God and the Bible began to accumulate to the point where I was very politely told to sit down and shut up. Grown-ups were not interested in my questions, but I was — very interested. Something was terribly wrong with the belief system I had been sitting on and I had no one to turn to — no person I approached knew what I was talking about or what I was asking for. Not having the satisfaction of knowing the truth was bad enough, but the realization that all of those around me were as lost as I was and, incredible as it seemed, they not only didn’t realize it — they did not seem to care. They didn’t know who they were, how they got here, or where they were going.

I thought I knew panic when told there was no Santa Claus. Now, it was even a worse kind of panic. It had to be the worst kind. I appeared to be alone in this crowd of perfectly hypnotized souls who thought they were mother, father, brother, the neighbor across the street, the teacher and chums at school, and so on.

Then I began to ask myself — why me? Is there no one else, anywhere, who has asked or is asking the same questions I’m asking? There was some comfort in that I was accepted by those around me — family, friends, school chums. But when they began to realize I was not thinking in accordance with their hypnotic beliefs, they began to turn on me. They wanted to save me from myself which changed the worst panic I had known into an abysmal panic.

I had no choice. If I wanted to survive, I had to get out from under and away. So, I broke ties with everyone and went off on my own. I was in my early 20’s

For the next seven years I existed in this surreal cocoon I had created, wondering if that was all there was to life — this mindless drifting to and fro — not knowing the truth about something I was seeking. I read and searched to no avail. Oh, there were some who touted the answers I was looking for, but in the end, I realized they didn’t know either. In spite of it all, I was still breathing and thinking. That was no accident. There had to be something behind that phenomenon, something real, something alive and eternal. But what?

And then that blessed day dawned when I would unknowingly approach the end of Stage Two and step into Stage Three. It would be decades before the full impact of what I was about to find would have its effect upon me.

I wandered into a bookstore that sold only new books which was not my preference. I preferred the old bookstores, hoping the treasure I was looking for would be hiding in some old forgotten volume, hidden away in a loft gathering dust, waiting for me to claim it. That, however, was not the plan by those unseen characters who were watching over me.

The main event took place in Kroch and Brentano’s Book Sellers in downtown Chicago. The smell of newly printed books hit me as I walked through the front door. In spite of my doubts, I perused all of the aisles, diligently surveying spine after spine with nothing registering. I was on my way out of the store when I saw it — off to my left. It looked like every other book. I stopped. The spine read, “The Spiritual Journey of Joel S. Goldsmith,” I had never heard of him. I pulled the book from the shelf never realizing that at that very moment, I had just left Stage Two of Santa Claus behind me and was on the threshold of Stage Three.

I perused the book, reading sentences and paragraphs which shocked me. I had never encountered such thinking before. I bought the book, took it to my apartment and read it cover to cover in one sitting. The next day I went back and purchased the rest of Goldsmith’s collection. I began highlighting passages that struck me so hard I didn’t want them to be lost. Over the decades, and many more readings, I found myself marking other passages and wondered how I could have missed them in previous readings. This routine continued until it dawned on me, these books and those highlights were a record of my spiritual unfoldment. It was a visible record of the remarkable journey I was taking.

It would be half a century before I realized I was in fact, Santa Claus, in possession of gifts I was capable and destined to give back.

When the realization hit me that it was time to give back everything I had garnered over the decades, I didn’t have a clue how to do it. There was the miracle of the Internet. But what was I to do with it?

I began one of those groups that are so prolific on the Internet and managed to attract about 60 members. After a while, I realized that wasn’t the answer. There had to be a better way of reaching out. So, I abandoned the project.

I thought I was back to square one until I received an email from one of the group members who strongly objected to the ending of the group. We became friends. Eventually, he encouraged me to write. Write about what? It had all been written. I had the books on my bookshelf to prove it. But he persisted.

Here I was, well past 70, and about to begin writing. To make the matter even more daunting, English was my worst subject in school — I just didn’t get it and in many ways, I still don’t. But with his persistence, I wrote and stopped and wrote and stopped so many times I lost count. It was drudgery. I wasn’t saying anything that mattered. His persistence turned to nagging. The long and short of it was I accumulated enough stories to publish a book. The lights didn’t go on until the day a copy of that book arrived in the post. I held it in my hands for the first time. HEY! WOW! I carried it around with me for three days.

Learning to write will probably never end, but I have improved with persistence, learning how to toss the junk and keep that which has substance.

I’ve learned the hard way that writing about Truth is absolutely impossible. Taking etheric principles and bringing them down into black and white print is like trying to give a name to that eternal Divine force that keeps us going in spite of ourselves – you simply cannot do it. But what I have found is that you can interweave principles of Truth in writing by disguising them in everyday tales of love, lust, murder, deceit, forgiveness. It’s a sneaky tactic but it works.

And so the third stage of my destiny of being Santa Claus was firmly established and I will continue to give these gifts of Truth as long as there is breath in this mortal body of mine. Beyond that — who knows.

The fairy tale of Santa Claus may be dead for me, but the reality of Santa Claus within me is alive and well.

Merry Christmas everyone.

J.T. Evergreen

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24 Jul, 2017
Philosophical, Religious

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