The reason behind this post may seem a little obscure, yet it’s not meant to be. It’s quite simple. I read a book, it made me think, and it made me feel. It did this quite a long time ago, and then it did it again a couple of days ago. Love is a prominent feature here, together with loss and happiness. It’s about Regrets!
And now I’ll begin…..
One of my favorite books of all time is Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. My son is currently studying this book because it’s part of the English Literature GCSE in England this year. I have read the book a couple of times before and it’s wonderful as a novel because Dickens’ writes in such a gifted way by totally transporting the reader into the detailed past he was familiar with, and the atmosphere then becomes real and jumps off the page. I’m reading it again because I love it, but mainly, on this occasion, it’s because I want to help my son with his coursework and jogging my memory once again with the intricacies of the story can, I hope, create some fun conversations about the book. I desire that we can both gain a deeper understanding of the characters.
Me and the little one, ( well he’s not really little as such, my youngest is 15, but I’ve always called him my little one, because he’s cute and still my baby…..SHHHH!). The film was on the TV the other afternoon, the 2009 animated ‘A Christmas Carol’ which I think is absolutely great. We decided to watch it together. The bit I really think is wonderful is when the ghost of Christmas past visits Scrooge and takes him back to his childhood. The scenes are set at Christmas obviously, with the snow falling and the atmosphere alerts him to the past of his own life as a young boy and the village he grew up in. There were scenes with his family and he was extremely overcome with emotion when he fell in love with a girl who he neglected through his love of money. It was quite sad, and myself and my son were talking about how it would feel to visit the past and if we would change anything.
The book is a great read and you can get some interesting conversations going with your children. Even reading it to them at this time of year is a good idea too, because you are talking about what Christmas was like for children 150 years ago in this country, and it’s like having a little mini history lesson every time you turn a page.
Nostalgia I feel is bittersweet. A street scene with snow falling can bring back memories of good times and fun when playing as a child, but like the story of Scrooge, it can also trigger moments of unhappiness and regret. The story is, as you are probably aware, related to the poverty of the poor at the time, yet there are under currents throughout which highlight the pain of regret in the heart of the main character; and his life which could have been very different had he treasured the love of his life which would have, as a conclusion, made his existence pleasurable and worthwhile, instead of it being devoid of love, which it was.
The realisation was quite brutal for him so that he subsequently recognised the error of his past choices and made attempts to recover everything he’d lost by showing care and love for the remainder of his life.
Is there a lesson in all of this? I suppose there can be, but it depends on the individual and the way they reflect on their own lives and regrets and wonder whether the changes, if there are any, can be made and whether it’s now worthwhile. We all have regrets in life, yet is it really important and beneficial to dwell on them to the point of making us miserable or to make changes or different choices that we know could make us feel better? It’s very personal, isn’t it?
I love thinking about the past when I was a little girl. My home, my parents, and my school life. I would love to go back for one day and feel everything in my heart, just the way it was. Yet I have regrets from my early twenties that I would not like to visit because they were too painful.
‘A Christmas Carol’ is a beautiful and cleverly written book, full of charm and atmosphere which I feel this version of the film captured perfectly. And I would definitely recommend a read or a watch at this time of year.
I have included this section from a Poem called Regret by Charlotte Bronte, largely because it talks about the tender tears of a childhood home and the memory of a loved one’s voice:
Long ago I wished to leave
“The house where I was born;”
Long ago I used to grieve,
My home seemed so forlorn.
In other years, its silent rooms
Were filled with haunting fears;
Now, their very memory comes
O’ercharged with tender tears.
Life and marriage I have known.
Things once deemed so bright;
Now, how utterly is flown
Every ray of light!
‘Mid the unknown sea, of life
I no blest isle have found;
At last, through all its wild wave’s strife,
My bark is homeward bound.
Farewell, dark and rolling deep!
Farewell, foreign shore!
Open, in unclouded sweep,
Thou glorious realm before!
Yet, though I had safely pass’d
That weary, vexed main,
One loved voice, through surge and blast
Could call me back again.
Though the soul’s bright morning rose
O’er Paradise for me,
William! even from Heaven’s repose
I’d turn, invoked by thee!
Storm nor surge should e’er arrest
My soul, exalting then:
All my heaven was once thy breast,
Would it were mine again!