December 27, 2011

They Keep Trying

The Blue Meanies tried again to infiltrate my Christmas this year. Sometimes I think there are things I must have done to pull all this vicious wickedness in on myself on what had always been my most favorite time of year. I know I've been crappy to people now and again, and I've tried very hard to forgive people who have done things to me or against me and just move on. That must be the reason that, once every few Christmases, the great karmatic God in the sky feels a need to make a point with me. Whether I've failed as a father or a husband or just as a friend - I don't know. But there seems to be something out there I have to pay for. I'm not going to get into specifics, but it couldn't get much closer to the heart of things I feel are close and precious, when it happens.

MrsRW and I were thinking maybe the whole thing is getting to be too much for people. There's always a lot of stress, a lot of silliness, a lot of feelings on the surface or something. People say cruel things, impose draconian conditions, and sudden;y seem to be different people than they were just a month ago. We usually enter into the spirit of the holiday and are happy to put up lights, the tree, secretly run around looking for gifts, hiding the stuff we're going to put in each other's stockings when the other isn't looking. I can't remember a moment when we wished anyone ill for the holiday. I doubt we ever really did, unless it was like Pol Pot or someone like that.

And this whole thing wasn't helped by massive overtime and a wretched head cold that just doesn't want to go away.

For the first time ever we sat there wondering if maybe we should forgo all the usual family gatherings next year and find a soup kitchen to work at, or a place where less fortunate kids get donated presents handed out to them, or bring fruit baskets to firemen or well... something. Something that isn't part of the great, stressful, mindless orgy of overdone abundance and people playing bumper cars with emotions and jockeying for some kind of munificent attention. Duels for control. Plots for position.

The whole "Christian metaphor" is forgiveness and the granting of another chance. It's what we would want others to grant us, and we are charged with forgiving as we'd like to be forgiven. That's kind of like, you know, the chief prayer and all? Truly there aren't many "Christians" who seem to understand the basic message of their own faith, myself included time after time. The holiday of Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of the guy who gave people that example. And, at least, you're supposed to TRY.

MrsRW's natural father left her mother before she was born. Then she spent a good portion of her early years living with her grandmother because her mother and stepfather had temporary work in another state and they wanted her to go to school here. I've read some of her letters to her Mom from those days, when she was just a little girl telling her distant mother all the news. So I get very upset - and very protective - of her when somebody treats her shabby. Especially when the source of the shabby ought to know better, and be using another approach, considering. I start making lists and rules of my own. In response to someone treating my wife poorly, I become thoroughly un-Christian... as it were.

So we figured it's a stressful time for some people. Some people can't handle all their own internal conflicts and project them onto others, no matter how hurtful, draconian, and pointless it all is. And the holidays just seem to exacerbate the problem.

But in our hearts I know we are still pro-Christmas people. So maybe next year we go do stuff for others and let the instability devour itself without us around. Maybe aim at somebody else for once. Because I'm going to forget I belong to a pacifist church in a minute here.

Because though I will sometimes sit around and say how much I hate, hate, HATE Christmas and what it does to people, I can never really give up on it.


B.E. Earl said...

We postponed the gift sharing portion of our Christmas in my family until yesterday because one certain sibling didn't want to be available on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve.

So, of course, that sibling and family showed up early and left early yesterday, so half of the family didn't see them anyway. And I'm sure they blamed those of us (including present company) who had to show up late because of work.

Whatever. I was fine with it. My better half is in SC with her family anyway, so Christmas didn't feel like Christmas at all to me. It will later this week, though. When I'm down there.

sybil law said...

Yeah - I know what you mean, RW. I've felt that way for years, now - and it's taken a toll on my Christmas spirit. This year, I think my expectations were so low that it was bound to be better than I thought - and it was. Doesn't mean there wasn't drama and those same assholes trying to suck the life out of me - but it does mean, for whatever reason, they couldn't TOUCH this. It was actually nice, for a change. I concentrated on the kids- period.

Anyway, I'm glad you're there for Mrs. RW. There were many holidays where Mr. Law was NOT speaking up for me to his own family, and that made everything way worse for me. He finally did, though - and that helped a lot.

I would love to do a soup kitchen, though - and tell all the adults that any gifts for them were donations made in their name to whatever we chose.


Dave2 said...

I got to the same point before I finally realized I was NOT a "Christmas person at heart" and hadn't been for a very long time. Then I finally gave up all pretenses of being a Christian and was finally free of the whole Christmas holiday. To say I am much happier now is a gross understatement. All the stress of the season just evaporated.

In many ways, this is kind of sad because I still like the idea behind Christmas. It was such a huge part of my childhood that turning it off has left a noticeable void in my life.

I really do wish there was some kind of compromise I could make that got rid of all the crap I grew to loathe about Christmas, but hold on to all the wonderful things it used to mean to me. Perhaps I'm just too cynical to try now... but maybe some day.

Avitable said...

This year, I only bought two gifts, and with the rest of my budget, I sent money to several friends who are single parents. That made this Christmas much more bearable for me.

Gino said...

"Some people can't handle all their own internal conflicts and project them onto others..."

yeah, i learned how to deal with this 30yrs ago by not letting others peoples' shit get into my system.

i cop a 'i'm enjoying myself' attitude. i let their drama be their own, like its supposed to be.

that, and i spend most of my 'family' holidays in traffic. 160 miles round trip to pick up my brother-in-law who lives a nursing home/sanitarium. and then 160 round trip again to take him back in the evening.
service to others... just like Christ serviced me with his birth. i can handle that with joy.